Explained: How Ukraine is helping Turkey become a formidable military power

Turkey strengthens defense cooperation with Ukraine, world leader in military engine production

New Delhi: In a rare move, a Chinese company Skyrizon filed a petition with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague at the end of 2021 regarding the failed purchase of Ukrainian Motor Sich, one of the engine manufacturers of advanced military aircraft in the world. The company is asking the Ukrainian government for compensation of up to $4.5 billion, according to media reports. Ukraine scuttled the deal after objections from the United States, fearing that important military technology would be passed to Beijing.

About Motor Sich

Motor Sich is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of engines for missiles, aircraft and helicopters. Skyrizon bought a majority stake in Motor Sich, but the shares were frozen in 2017 after Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Skyrizon.

Now Motor Sich has found a new investor – Turkey. Such an agreement was discussed last year by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Zelensky during the latter’s visit to Ankara.

“Ukraine, being in a state of war, cannot afford to hand over the company, on which Ukrainian defense capabilities depend, into the wrong hands,” National Council Chairman Oleksiy Danilo told state television at the time. Security and Defense of Ukraine.

Turkish-Ukrainian company to develop drones

Clearly, Danilo doesn’t see Turkey as such ‘bad hands’. Car Motor Sich has now become a key partner in this Turkish-Ukrainian company to develop the drones and supply motors to the drones. Turkey has strengthened its defense cooperation with Ukraine, a world leader in the production of military engines. Eight defense agreements were signed during President Erdogan’s recent visit to Kyiv in early February. In October last year, Motor Sich agreed to supply Turkish defense firm Baykar with 30 turboprops for use in its Akinci strike drones.

On February 3, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed an agreement to build more TB2 drones together. Some of these drones have already been used against pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donbass region in October. Now Ukraine is preparing to buy more and these drones will be jointly manufactured on Ukrainian territory, while Turkey will also build a training center and a factory for drone pilots.

While such cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey is beneficial for both sides, it also means that Turkey is able to diversify its defense procurement and partnerships outside of NATO and reduce its dependence on towards it, especially following the failed 2016 coup, and after the United States ousted it from the F35 program because Turkey purchased the S400 missile system from Russia.

But the United States is not alone. Germany also contributes to Turkey’s expansionist policy under ambitious President Erdogan, who considers Turkey’s claims to territories controlled by the Ottoman Empire as legitimate. According to Greek journalist Nikos Fragkakis:

“German companies are selling high-tech defense equipment to Turkey for the production of the Bayraktar at a time when the West has imposed an embargo on defense systems on Turkey.”

First importer of German weapons

Germany sent 250.4 million weapons to Turkey in the first eight months of 2019, according to German media, the highest in 14 years. This made Turkey the top importer of German arms, accounting for almost a third of German defense industry business.

In July 2020, for example, the German government agreed to supply Turkey with key components for the construction of six German submarines, which is supposed to shift the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean in favor of Turkey. This was after he imposed a ban on arms sales to Turkey, following its military assault on the Syrian Kurds.

Germany, says Fragkakis, is Turkey’s main catalyst. Germany is Turkey’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade of $38 billion in 2020. Germany ranks Turkey’s top export with $16 billion and second in imports with nearly $22 billion.

EU sanctions against Turkey

Germany also played a major role in blocking EU sanctions against Turkey at the EU summit in December 2020, for its unauthorized actions in the Eastern Mediterranean gas drilling off Cyprus.

A Moscow-based defense analyst who does not want to be named says Germany and the United States are helping Turkey while exploiting its military, pointing to conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh which has given Turkey a foothold in the South Caucasus from where it will seek to enter Central Asia, challenging Russia, their main rival, and south towards the Persian Gulf, challenging Iran and the Arab lands that the Ottomans had once controlled.

Given America’s withdrawal from the Middle East, it can be content to see Turkey making inroads into the region, as seen in Libya where it countered Russia. Ukraine is another conflict zone in which Turkey has a strong presence, although it can only challenge Russia to a certain extent, given its energy and its partial economic and defensive dependence on Russia. from Moscow.

This is best corroborated by the fact that Turkey is called upon to play a major role in Afghanistan, facilitated by the United States when it allowed the The Taliban will retake Kabul. Simultaneously, the United States, after years of deliberation, withdrew from the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Pipeline project – to transfer gas from Israel and Cyprus to the European gas network via Greece and Italy – in January of that year, widely seen as a conciliatory gesture towards Turkey, which has the most to gain if the project is canceled entirely.

According to Richard Goldberg, senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington:

“The decision to question its technical feasibility, economic viability and commercial competitiveness now ‘at this late hour’ smacks of a political decision, not an economic one.”

Turkey’s presence in South Asia will have major implications for India, as the National Investigation Agency has already flagged its alert. But what seems equally astonishing is that to keep Turkey in its orbit, NATO countries like the United States and Germany are actually facilitating Turkey’s independence from ‘them.

(Aditi Bhaduri is a columnist specializing in Eurasian geopolitics. Opinions expressed are personal and exclusive to India Narrative)

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