The Turkish Democracy Project (TDP) has called on three US companies to sever ties with Baykar Makina, whose TB2 drones have become a weapon of choice for repressive regimes around the world and who have been implicated in attacks on civilians in Armenia while prolonging bloody conflicts. in Syria and Libya. These companies are now exposed to major legal consequences for having acted contrary to international sanctions.
Turkey has expanded its drone program over the past two decades and is now the fourth largest producer of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the world. As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues his assault on his country’s democratic infrastructure, he also pursues a foreign policy that is no longer tied to NATO values. In Erdogan’s hands, the TB2 drone has become a tool of oppression and violence, while Baykar Makina continues to strike deals with regimes that deploy their technology against civilians. TDP has called on every company to stop supplying its technology to Baykar with immediate effect.
InlettersAddressed to each by TDP CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, TDP presented comprehensive evidence that the company’s technology was used in the production of drones by Baykar, which in turn were deployed against Armenian civilians in Artsakh as well as against the same Kurdish forces that helped turn the tide against Daesh. TDP also provided detailed evidence of the risks inherent in doing business with the Turkish military industrial complex, including the legal risk associated with the supply of Turkish drones under the Law on Combating US Adversaries Through Sanctions ( CAATSA).
TDP applauds companies that have discontinued their engagement. For example, the Garmin statement confirmed that they are asking all independent dealers to stop selling Garmin products to Baykar due to the nefarious nature of their business. The TDP calls on those who continue to do business with Baykar to immediately end their relations with the Turkish military industrial complex.
TDP CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace said:
Turkish drones are infamous for their use by Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan against Armenian civilians during the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020.
Turkish TB2 drones have been used in Syria against the Kurdish allies of the United States and in Libya, prolonging that country’s bloody civil war. Their indiscriminate use by the Turkish military and Turkish-backed forces has been widely condemned by the international community.
The fact that so many major national manufacturing, technology and defense companies have done business with Turkey’s military-industrial complex should be of serious concern to US and EU lawmakers. It is also worrying that when faced with direct evidence of crimes committed using their products, these same companies have simply seen fit to ignore them.
Beyond the moral implications of supplying drone parts to an aggressive and expansionist army that targets civilian populations, most of these companies would face serious legal consequences for their action. A coalition of 27 members of the US Congress recently signed a letter saying that technology transfers such as those these companies continue to make to Turkey clearly violate the terms of CAATSA sanctions.
By refusing to sever ties with Turkey in the face of direct evidence of the crimes the Erdogan regime commits using their products, these companies are showing that they do not take the moral or legal implications of their actions seriously. Lawmakers must take this into account when determining how these companies should be treated.
The companies contacted by TDP who did not respond to calls to immediately stop working with Turkish drone maker Baykar Makina were:
- Xilinx, manufacturing / technology, USA
- Hengst of North America, Auto / Engineering, USA, parent company: Hengst Automotive (Germany)
- Northrop Grumman, Aerospace / Defense, United States
- Intelligent microwave systems, Electronics, Germany
The companies contacted by TDP who confirmed they had stopped working with Turkish drone maker Baykar Makina were:
- Comant, manufacturing / satellite communications, United States
- Viasat, Communications, United States
- Garmin, Technology, Switzerland
- Beringer Aero, Manufacturing, France
- Trimble, Technology, United States
The Turkish Democracy Project is a non-profit, non-partisan international political organization formed in response to Turkey’s recent hijacking of democracy and toward authoritarianism.
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