Wednesday (March 2nd): Erdoğan— Arms Salesman in Ukraine

President Erdoğan

Name? Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Westphalian identity? Turkish

Age? 68

Why is he in the news? Turkish President Erdoğan is in the news for the continued sale of drones and missiles to President Zelensky’s Ukraine. The drones, manufactured by Turkish company Baykar Makina, have been used by the Ukrainian army against invading Russian targets. Although Baykar Makina had agreed to joint-development of drones with Ukraine last month, Erdoğan continuing to supply the Ukrainian army may put him at odds with ally Putin. 

Why do we care? Edroğan has used the sale of drones to not only increase the military capabilities of Turkey, but also to sell influence abroad. In the past, Turkey has sold drones into conflicts; namely to Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh ordeal which have been attributed to the Azerbaijani victory. However, as the Russian invasion continues and Turkish weaponry is deployed, Edroğan may be putting a target on his back for supplying against Putin’s invasion.   

Why should you care? As Ukraine continues to fight against the Russian invasion, drones offer the military an avenue to avoid deaths through close ground combat. Considering many Ukrainians are currently taking up arms to defend Ukrainians such as Kyiv, you should care 6/10 about Ukraine’s new drone capabilities.  

Who else cares? Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin has been vocal against the Turkish supplying of drones. In the past, Putin has been vocal against the sale of Turkish drones to Ukraine for their utilisation against the Russian-supported troops in the Donbas region. As Zelensky now turns the weapons against Russian soldiers, it will intensify an already tense conflict. 

Any further comments? Erdoğan has also closed two straits in the Black Sea that were to be used by four Russian warships. The blockage’s legitimacy comes from the Montreux Convention, signed in 1936, giving Turkey control of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits. Although the move was welcomed by Ukraine, it also does not allow any warships into the Black Sea, Russian or not.