Some 27 members of the U.S. Congress penned a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling for the suspension of the transfer of drone technology to Turkey.
"We are writing to express our concern over Turkey's armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, which has destabilized multiple regions of the globe and threatens U.S. interests, allies, and partners," said the Aug. 9 dated letter.
27 Members of Congress send a bipartisan letter to @SecBlinken sounding the alarm on Turkey's malign UAV program, which destabilizes the world, and threatens US interests. @indefchristians was glad to work with our friends @ANCA_DC & @HellenicLeaders pic.twitter.com/eD1zqBJcyL— Rich Ghazal (@richghazal) August 10, 2021
The letter asked Blinken to issue a report on the ramifications of Turkey’s drone industry with special attention to whether they include U.S. technologies that violate U.S. sanctions.
"Over the last year, Turkish drones have been deployed by Azerbaijan against Armenian civilians in Artsakh, Syria; against Kurdish forces that have partnered with the U.S. in the war against ISIS; and in Libya's civil war," the letter said.
"We also wish to note that battlefield evidence from Artsakh confirms that Turkey's Bayraktar drones contain parts and technology from American firms and U.S.-based affiliates of foreign firms."
The letter further said that the U.S. transfer of drone technology to Turkey violates arms export control laws and runs afoul of sanctions which Congress has imposed on the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries.
"We further urge an immediate suspension of any export permits for U.S. drone technology to Turkey pending a State Department review," the letter concluded by saying.
At different times throughout the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, countries producing components for the Bayraktar drones suspended sales to Turkey. According to various reports, Bayraktar drones used in Azerbaijan contained parts manufactured by firms in the U.S. or by firms that have subsidiaries in the U.S.