ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s navy exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold this yr, with gross sales of drones and different navy tools rising to $77 million final month alone earlier than preventing broke out over the Nagorno-Karabakh area, in accordance with exports knowledge.
The figures compiled by the Turkish Exporters’ Meeting, which teams greater than 95,000 exporting firms in 61 sectors, present Azerbaijan purchased $123 million in defence and aviation tools from Turkey within the first 9 months of 2020.
A lot of the purchases of drones, rocket launchers, ammunition and different weapons arrived had been after July, when border clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces prompted Turkey and Azerbaijan to conduct joint navy workouts.
Gross sales jumped from $278,880 within the month of July to $36 million within the month of August, and $77.1 million in simply September, the information confirmed. Navy gross sales to Azerbaijan within the first 9 months of 2019 totalled $20.7 million.
Combating between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces broke out on Sept. 27 over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountain enclave which is recognised internationally as a part of Azerbaijan however is ruled and populated by ethnic Armenians.
“Azerbaijan clearly turned to Turkey for assist … and wasted no time realising that the menace would develop,” stated Istanbul-based defence analyst Turan Oguz.
“Ankara could be very decided in offering Baku with its wants,” he stated. “The robust defence cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is getting stronger by the day.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has backed Azerbaijan and stated Armenians should withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Ankara, which needs a task in ceasefire talks, says it’s not straight concerned within the preventing. However Azeri officers have touted their use of Turkish armed drones, which have spearheaded Ankara’s navy operations in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
The surge in arms gross sales displays Turkey’s rising cross-border affect within the area, and is one measure of how rapidly Azerbaijan embraced Ankara earlier than the flare-up of the decades-old battle over Nagorno-Karabakh.
(Graphic: Turkey’s arms exports to Azerbaijan surge, https://graphics.reuters.com/ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN/TURKEY-ARMS/oakvenzyxpr/chart.png)
Requested in regards to the knowledge, a Turkish defence ministry consultant referred to statements by Minister Hulusi Akar, who stated late final month Turkey will assist Azerbaijan “with all our means.”
Russia has lengthy been the chief weapons provider to each Azerbaijan and Armenia, with which it has a defence pact.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan advised Reuters on Tuesday that solely a change in Turkey’s stance might immediate Azeris to halt navy motion in Nagorno-Karabakh, however he gave no indication he noticed any signal of a shift.
In September, Azerbaijan jumped to the highest of the record of Turkish arms patrons, adopted by Oman and the USA with $63 million every, the exports knowledge reveals.
Authorities in Turkey say the nation has turn into the world’s fourth largest drone producer since Erdogan elevated home manufacturing to cut back reliance on Western arms.
Oguz, the analyst, stated drones being utilized in Nagorno-Karabakh included the Bayraktar TB2, produced by an organization launched by Selcuk Bayraktar, an aerospace engineer who in 2016 married Erdogan’s daughter.
Turkish-made good ammunition can also be obvious in battlefield movies launched by Azerbaijan’s defence ministry, Oguz stated.
(For a graphic of arms gross sales, click on: https://graphics.reuters.com/ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN/TURKEY-ARMS/ygdvznyamvw/media-embed.html)
(Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Modifying by Timothy Heritage)
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