Turkish drone-manufacturer Baykar, which has President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s son-in-law as one of its directors, offered three of its drones to the Ukrainian army on Monday.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the company noted that a crowdfunding campaign had raised enough money to buy several of its TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) “for Ukrainians to use in defence of their Homeland.”
“Baykar will not accept payment for the TB2s, and will send 3 UAVs free of charge to the Ukrainian war front,” it added.
“We ask that raised funds be remitted instead to the struggling people of Ukraine.”
Announcement from Baykar!
Оголошення від Baykar! pic.twitter.com/VQxZ5s2jnY
— BAYKAR (@BaykarTech) June 27, 2022
Turkey has never announced any military aid to Ukraine, but this delivery could hardly take place without Erdogan’s endorsement.
Ukraine has already said that the Turkish drones it had at the start of the war had proved their worth against the Russian forces.
One of Baykar’s directors is Selcuk Bayraktar, the husband of Erdogan’s youngest daughter. The company’s other director is Bayraktar’s brother, Haluk.
The announcement comes as NATO member Turkey is blocking the membership bids of the Finland and Sweden, over what Erdogan says is their willingness to give safe haven to outlawed Kurdish militants whose decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
While Turkey has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has also tried to act as a mediator between the two sides and has not signed up for the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Moscow.
At the beginning of June, Baykar offered Lithuania a free combat drone so the funds Lithuanians had raised to buy one for Ukrainian forces could go towards humanitarian aid.
Ukraine has said it had around 20 TB2 drones at the start of the war.
Some experts say that Ukraine is still getting deliveries of Turkish combat drones, something Ankara has never confirmed.