Military exports from Ankara to Baku escalated in 2020, peaking in the month leading up to the conflict. From just under 300 thousand dollars in July to 36 million in August and 77 million in September. Baku is today the first buyer of Turkish arms, followed by Oman and the United States.
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Military exports from Turkey to Azerbaijan, an ally of Ankara, have increased six fold this year with a peak in the sale of drones and other technical equipment. According to data provided by the Turkish Exporters' Assembly, the escalation in arms sales for 2020 peaked last month - on the eve of the first fighting with Armenia - with a combined figure of 77 million dollars.
According to official figures provided by the association, which brings together over 95,000 export companies in 61 different sectors, show that the Baku government has purchased 123 million in defense and aviation systems. The data refers to the first nine months of 2020, before the start of the conflict with Yerevan, and is a further confirmation of the close link between Turks and Azerbaijanis, as recently emerged from Ankara's dispatch of Syrian Isis mercenaries.
Most of the purchases of drones, rocket launchers, ammunition and other weapons occurred after July, when border clashes between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces prompted Turkey and Azerbaijan to conduct joint military exercises. Sales jumped from $ 278,880 in July to $ 36 million in August and $ 77.1 million in September. In comparison, in the first nine months of 2019 the figure was $ 20.7 million.
Turan Oguz, a defence analyst based in Istanbul, underlines that " “Azerbaijan clearly turned to Turkey for help ... and wasted no time realising that the threat would grow, Ankara is very determined in providing Baku with its needs,” he said. “The strong defence cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is getting stronger by the day.” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself has repeatedly expressed his support for Baku's request for an Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh.
When asked about the data provided by the Turkish Exporters' Assembly, an official from the Ankara Ministry of Defense recalled the words of the head of the ministry Hulusi Akar, who said last month that Turkey will support Azerbaijan "by all possible means”. A
This position of strength is confirmed by the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan himself, who said that only a change in Turkey's position could push the Azeris to stop military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh but, to date, there is no sign of a possible change of course.
In September, Baku jumped to the top of the list of countries buying arms from Turkey, followed by Oman and the United States with 63 million dollars each. Turkish authorities recall that the country is now the fourth largest drone manufacturer in the world, since Erdogan has decided to support domestic production to reduce dependence on the Western market.