Ankara asks Ukraine to stop mentioning Turkey's name when talking about Turkish-made drones
Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu has called on Ukraine to stop mentioning Turkey's name on the issues related to armed drones. His remarks came after the Kremlin warned Turkey that the use of Turkish-made drones could further aggravate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has asked Ukraine to stop mentioning Turkey's name on the issues related to armed drones, which Kyiv purchased from Ankara.
Çavuşoğlu said that drones used by Ukraine may have been produced in Turkey but are used by Ukraine, thus Turkey is not the country to be blamed.
"If a country has purchased a weapon from us or another country, then that weapon cannot be labeled as Turkish or Russian or Ukrainian. If a state is purchasing this from us, then that product is no longer Turkish," the minister said on Oct. 30 after a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Rome.
"It may have been produced in Turkey but it belongs to Ukraine. Turkey cannot be blamed over this," he told reporters.
He said Turkey faces weapons from different countries during "its fight against terrorism."
"Sometimes in our fight against terrorism in different countries, we come across different weapons from different countries, including Russia. We never blame Russia."
"Also, Ukraine should stop mentioning Turkey's name," Çavuşoğlu said.
The Bayraktar TB2 has been sold to countries including Ukraine, Qatar, Azerbaijan, and Poland.
In May, Poland became the first EU and NATO member state to acquire drones from Turkey.
Çavuşoğlu's remarks came after the Kremlin warned Turkey this week that the use of Turkish-made drones could further aggravate the conflict in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was commenting on the deployment by Ukrainian government forces of a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone to strike a position in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
"We have really good ties with Turkey, but in this situation, our fears are unfortunately being realized that the deliveries of these types of weapons to the Ukrainian military can potentially destabilize the situation on the line of contact," Peskov told reporters.
'Ukraine's stubborn demands'
Lavrov echoed Peskov's concerns, saying Russia was investigating reports that Ukraine used the Turkish drone.
“This should give pause to those who give airtime to Ukraine's stubborn demands it should be admitted to NATO right away,” he said.
Russia-backed separatists have been fighting government troops in Ukraine's Donbass region since 2014, soon after Russia seized the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine. Kyiv says at least 14,000 people have been killed.
Ukraine has bought sophisticated Turkish drones to boost its military and has struck a deal with Ankara to produce the same drones at a factory close to Kyiv, the capital.
The drone issue is one of several straining ties between Turkey and Russia even though the two countries enjoy close ties in other areas.
Turkey, a NATO member, has criticized Moscow's annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine's territorial integrity.
The country, which faces Ukraine and Russia across the Black Sea, has nonetheless forged close ties with Moscow in the fields of defense and energy.