Pristina is reportedly trying to buy Bayraktar UAVs from Türkiye
As Albania announced a contract with Türkiye on Tuesday for the purchase of Bayraktar attack drones, an official in the ethnic Albanian government in the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo said Pristina, too, was negotiating with Ankara for the same type of UAV.
“The issue of combat unmanned aerial vehicles is on our agenda as well,” Fikrim Damka, the regional development minister, told the Turkish Anadolu Agency.
He acknowledged such an acquisition is a lengthy process, as “almost all the countries of the world” are talking about buying Bayraktar drones, but said that “there had been visits” and that Kosovo’s president and defense minister have seen the UAVs in person.
Kosovo is a breakaway province of Serbia, currently run by ethnic Albanian separatists who declared independence in 2008 with NATO backing. Damka’s statement comes after Albanian PM Edi Rama announced that he had signed a deal for a “fleet” of drones with the Turkish company Baykar Makina.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic commented on Damka’s claims by saying the news was “not good” and would impact Belgrade’s relations with Ankara, “even though we greatly respect President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
Vucic himself was on a visit to Azerbaijan, which had deployed Bayraktar’s TB2 drones against Armenia to great effect in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He was scheduled to meet with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Defense Industry Minister Madat Guliyev during the two-day trip, with “technology transfers” and military cooperation on the agenda, among other things.
Vucic told reporters that Serbia has already acquired a “significant number” of drones. Without such weapons, he said, Serbia’s enemies “would have swallowed us up like a cat would a mouse. But we’re too big of a morsel for that now.”
Türkiye had provided Azerbaijan with a significant number of TB2 drones from Baykar Makina, putting the company into the global spotlight. CEO Haluk Bayraktar’s brother, Selcuk, is the company’s chief technology officer and Erdogan’s son-in-law.
Baykar had also sold a number of Bayraktar drones to Ukraine, despite Türkiye’s official neutrality in the conflict with Russia. On a prank call in October, one Ukrainian official described them as “first and foremost a PR project” and said “they were all shot down within a week.”
December 21, 2022 at 05:03AM