The Odessa Journal

16 October, 2020


According to a statement by the Ukrainian government, Zelensky will sign a bilateral military cooperation agreement during his visit. This agreement aims to have a big impact on security and peace in the Black Sea region.

Defense relations between the two countries have developed rapidly, with military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey’s defense industries carrying various mutual benefits.

In early July, Ukraine’s National Defense Minister Andriy Taran voiced an interest in Turkish-made drones at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in Kyiv.

Ukraine already purchased the combat drones Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Turkey last year. The agreement signed between the two countries allowed the purchase of a total of 12 UAVs. Along with the combat drones, which had been tested last March, Turkey will also provide 3 ground control station systems and various equipment. The agreement was signed between the Ukrspetsproject Company, which is part of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom, and Turkish manufacturer Baykar Makina, the country’s leading drone developer.

Today, Ukraine wants to purchase another 50 Bayraktar TB2 combat drones and plans to set up a large-scale assembly line for the unmanned aircraft.

The official said, that after establishing a drone-production plant, Ukraine will begin exporting these drones to foreign markets (except those where Turkey is selling its production).

From the other side, Turkey is interested in technology transfer on missile engine technology with Ukraine, which could turn into a longer-term business deal involving aircraft production.

Ukrainian engine-maker SE Ivchenko-Progress is producing the AI-35 engine to power Turkey’s new indigenous Gezgin missile. Analysts have described the Gezgin as similar to the American-made Tomahawk. The Gezgin program was designed to develop conventional, long-range strike capabilities for naval platforms. This new missile is thought to have a range of approximately 1,000 kilometers. SE Ivchenko-Progress, a subsidiary of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom defense giant, designs and manufactures engines that power 66 types of aircraft in more than 100 countries.

The technology transfer is the engagement ring of wider alliance between Turkey and Ukraine on foreign affairs issues. Recently, president Zelensky officially supported Turkish diplomacy in the conflict between Armenia (backed by Russia) and Azerbaijan for the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, backing Azeri claims.

This diplomatic and military alliance is needed by Ukraine to defend the country from Russian aggression. But it is also an opportunity for Turkey to strengthen its ambitious policy of influence in the East (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Turkmenistan) and in the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Israel, Libya, Syria), where Erdogan regularly steps on Putin’s feet.