Putin pushes Turkey to produce drones for Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly pushing for Ukraine’s drone supplier to produce weapons for the Kremlin, according to a new report from CNN Turk.

On Tuesday, CNN Turk reported that while meeting with members of the AK Party Central Executive Committee, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Putin recently approached him about creating a Baykar drone factory in Russia.

“Putin says, ‘Let’s work together with Baykar,'” Erdogan said during the meeting, according to CNN Turk.

Baykar is a drone manufacturer located in Turkey that has supplied unmanned aerial drones to Ukraine, amid the country’s ongoing war with Russia.

The report by CNN Turk comes shortly after the CEO of Baykar, Haluk Bayraktar spoke with CNN and said that the company does not plan to provide weapons to Russia.

“We have not delivered or supplied them with anything, [and] we will as well never do such a thing because we support Ukraine, support its sovereignty, its resistance for its independence,” Bayraktar told CNN.

During the interview Bayraktar also spoke about the help that it has provided Ukraine saying, “We are actually proud and it’s very touching for us to be one of the symbols of this big resistance of Ukraine and as you know Ukraine is under very heavy aggression and disproportionate attacks.”

Bayraktar continued, “As I imagine, Turkey and Ukraine has a strategy level of relationship.… Turkey is supporting Ukraine with this armed drone technology.”

In June, Reuters reported that a group in Lithuania started a crowdfunding campaign to help Ukraine pay for Baykar’s TB2 model drones. In response to the crowdfunding campaign, Baykar announced that it “will not accept payment for the TB2s, and will send three UAVs free of charge to the Ukrainian war front.”

“We ask that raised funds be remitted instead to the struggling people of Ukraine,” the company said in a statement, according to Reuters.

In a separate statement following the crowdfunding from Lithuania, Baykar said, “The people of Lithuania have honorably raised funds to buy a Bayraktar TB2 for Ukraine. Upon learning this, Baykar will gift a Bayraktar TB2 to Lithuania free of charge and asks those funds go to Ukraine for humanitarian aid.”

Earlier in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Erdogan criticized Putin and the Kremlin, calling the invasion “unacceptable.” Additionally, in March, Erdogan’s office posted a tweet that called for a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine.