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Thursday, December 1, 2022

“The Drone Problem”: How the U.S. Has Struggled to Curb Turkey, a Key Exporter of Armed Drones | Pro Republica

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In August of last year, Ethiopia’s prime minister traveled to Turkey to sign a military accord with the country’s president. Ethiopian Airlines charter flights departed from Tekirda, an airport renowned for testing and selling Turkish drones. According to public flight records, it was the first of at least three such flights within a month. The Turkish and Ethiopian governments did not react to inquiries on the flights. Not to soon after, drones manufactured in Turkey hovered above populous town centers in rebel-held Ethiopia before releasing missiles. Word spread in places like Alamata and Mlazat that drone missiles were killing people. As the death toll increased, the Biden administration expressed “deep humanitarian concerns” over the sale of Turkish drones to Ethiopia. According to the United Nations, around six months after Abiy’s travel to Turkey, at least 304 people were killed by airstrikes. Currently, at least 14 nations possess TB2s, and 16 more are striving to acquire them. The Turkish government and the drone manufacturer have defended the TB2 as a vital instrument. However, drone wreckage from various engagements demonstrates different. Some congressmen have requested that the Biden administration exert pressure on Turkey to prohibit drone shipments. They contend that drones and their weapons contribute to global instability.

Additionally, the news outlet worked with U.S. armaments specialists to see whether their sales violated export laws. U.S., Russian, and Turkish officials have concentrated chiefly on regulating the sale of bigger drones, such as the Predator and Reaper. The agreement fails to account for the burgeoning development of smaller drones, such as the TB2. In 2015, the Turkish engineer Bayraktar introduced a weaponized drone that could strike a target from kilometers away. He presented it as a means for Turkey to become a global powerhouse independent of U.S. drones. TB2 drones from Bayraktar may engage targets with laser-guided weaponry, often a lightweight missile known as a MAM-L. From a height of 18,000 feet, the drone can hover for nearly 24 hours and launch attacks from a distance of 185 miles. Turkey supplied TB2 drones and pilots to Libya to assist the Government of National Accord headquartered in Tripoli in a problematic civil war. Turkey violated a United Nations arms embargo by providing drones and other weaponry to prevent the Libyan civil war from escalating. Turkey supplied TB2 drones to its friends, the Azeris in it’s 2020 war against Armenia.

Source: https://www.propublica.org/article/bayraktar-tb2-drone-turkey-exports?utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dfn-ebb&SToverlay=2002c2d9-c344-4bbb-8610-e5794efcfa7d

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