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Putin 'proposed to have a Turkish drone factory built in Russia'

Erdogan reportedly revealed his proposal to colleagues while claiming Bayraktar TB2 maker Baykar is establishing a plant in the UAE
A Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drone during a presentation at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Siauliai, Lithuania, on 6 July 2022 (AFP)
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Ankara

Turkish drone maker Baykar has reportedly established a production facility in the UAE and Russia’s Vladimir Putin also wanted to set up a similar facility in Russia, it emerged on Tuesday. 

According to CNN Turk, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told colleagues at a top party meeting on Monday that Putin had approached him during a recent meeting in Tehran to suggest a deal with Turkish firm Baykar to produce its attack drones, which have proved effective against Russian forces in Ukraine. 

“Putin told me that he wants to work with Baykar,” Erdogan reportedly said. “He proposed to establish a factory in Russia as [Bayakr] has done in the UAE.” 

A Baykar spokesperson denied that the company had established a factory in the UAE. The spokesperson declined to comment on the Russian proposal. 

However, a source with knowledge of the issue said Baykar was indeed in the process of establishing a production line in the UAE. 

Haluk Bayraktar, Baykar’s CEO, said last week that he wouldn't sell drones to Russia.

"There is a strategic relationship between Turkey and Ukraine, especially in the field of aviation and space,” he told CNN. "Turkey supports Ukraine with armed drone technology. We did not transmit or supply anything to Russia. We would never do such a thing.”

Baykar’s Bayraktar TB2 drones had a proven track record of success against several adversaries in conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh. But they had not been used against an army with sophisticated electronic warfare capabilities and state-of-the-art air defence systems until the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

So far they have proved extremely effective in combating Russian troops deployed deep inside Ukrainian territory.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov revealed last month that Ukraine has received 50 armed drones from Baykar since Russia's 24 February invasion.