The Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced on Thursday that he was submitting two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the primary vehicle for authorising defence spending for the Fiscal Year 2022, for monitoring and assessing the national security implications of the proliferation of Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme.
Senator Bob Menendez stated that the amendments will require the US State Department and Pentagon to report on Turkish drone exports since 2018 and whether those drones contain parts or technology manufactured by US firms, and to determine if such exports are a violation of any US law or sanctions.
Drawing attention to the consequences of Turkey’s military support to Azerbaijan, Menendez indicated that the Baku administration ‘continued to choose a path of violence with Turkey’s support’ in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“As the regime in Baku, with Turkey’s support, continues choosing a path of violence instead of a peaceful, negotiated process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is long past time for this and all future administrations to halt this type of assistance and to fully respect Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act,” said Menendez, and continued:
“Turkish drones played a decisive role in last year’s war between Armenian and Azerbaijan. Since then, Poland, Morocco, and Ukraine have purchased the Bayraktar TB2 and several other countries have expressed interest, including Angola, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, and Rwanda,’ said Menendez.
“Turkey’s drone sales are dangerous, destabilising and a threat to peace and human rights,” he added. “The U.S. should have no part of it, and this amendment is a recognition that we must prevent U.S. parts from being included in these Turkish weapons.”
Ethiopian military may be using Turkish drones in internal conflict
One of the latest media reports on possible Turkish drones use by a foreign country has been published in The Guardian on Thursday, suggesting that Turkish drones might have been used by the Ethiopian military against local forces in the northern Tigray region.
“There is already evidence to suggest Turkish munitions are in use,” the article said. “A fragment of a Turkish-made laser-guided bomb found by Tigrayan forces was passed to a journalist and analyst, Martin Plaut, early last month. It cannot be conclusively determined from where it was fired, but western experts say the missile from which the fragment came can be used by TB2 drones.”