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Twenty-seven United States (U.S.) Representatives demand an investigation into Turkish drone programme!

U.S. lawmakers call for the suspension of drone technology transfer to Turkey. Twenty-seven members of the U.S. Congress have written a letter to the Secretary of State – Antony Blinken – demanding the suspension of any export permits for U.S. drone technology to Turkey. The letter asked Blinken to issue a report on the ramifications of Turkey’s drone industry with special attention to whether they include U.S. technologies that violate U.S. sanctions.

It is not surprising that the Armenian and the Greek diasporas demand what the letter proposes. The Armenian diaspora in the United States operates as a systematic organisation. It should be remembered that because Turkey publicly announced that it supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and its counteroffensive measures during the Azerbaijani and Armenian conflict, Armenian lobby structures in the U.S. are blaming the new combat on Turkey, not Armenian forces who regularly fire big weapons into Azerbaijan.

For instance, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) lobbies full time for Armenia using professional, paid staff to convince America’s Congress to finance Armenia’s government with direct aid regardless of their aggression and illegal occupation of 20% of their next-door neighbour Azerbaijan. The U.S. government should investigate ANCA for violating its legal status as a sanctioned “charity” group.

Therefore, it is obvious that the letter has been written to please the Armenian and Greek lobbyists. Even the former U.S. Ambassador – Matthew Bryza – argued that these groups have a big impact on members of Congress because they give them money. He says, “These interest groups have a huge influence over members of Congress. Because they are able then to outspend the organisations that may be more supportive of Turkey. They can make their arguments in very often emotional and not entirely truthful ways. But once you get into the political arena in the Congress, for example, it is very difficult to bring the discussion back to rationality once it is politicised”.

The letter shows that the level of discomfort caused by Turkey’s production of its weapons systems, especially among ethnic lobbyists mentioned above, in Congress goes as far as demanding the prevention of Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ally of the U.S., from building its arsenal.

Moreover, the letter was signed by the Rhode Island Party representative – David Cicilline – and Florida representative – Gus Bilirakis – and was written in a manipulative language that does not hide its hostility towards Turkey.

It should be noted that members of the U.S. Congress refrain from using the U.S.-acknowledged official name of Nagorno Karabakh for the region and chose to skip the fact that it had been under the occupation of the Armenian army for nearly 30 years before the operation of Azerbaijan to take it back. The “Kurdish forces” in Syria are the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is also on the U.S.’ list of terrorist organisations.

The letter says, “Turkey has declared its intention to establish a permanent drone base in occupied Cyprus, which will deploy attack drones from its amphibious assault ships”. By saying “occupied Cyprus”, the members of Congress refer to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has been in negotiations with the Greek who ruled the Republic of Cyprus for years.

Apparently, the launch of Turkey’s own drones and the results obtained by using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems in Syria, Libya, and Azerbaijan have greatly disturbed the lobbies in the U.S. Under the influence of the lobbyists in the Congress, a group of representatives goes so far as to demand that Turkey be prevented from producing even its own weapons. 

Maybe the letter is a part of the “Turkey bashing”, seemingly fashionable among American and European political circles, reflecting their level of antipathy to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; however, it is a country and its people they are offending.

Furthermore, there are a few points that the American lawmakers, who still think that the U.S. is the world’s gendarme, did not consider in their attempt to prevent Turkey’s production of drones.

It should be underlined that Turkey started its drone programme after the rejection of the U.S. The U.S. implemented an arms embargo against Turkey in 1975 due to the 1974 Cyprus intervention of Turkey after a right-wing Greek coup there, threatening Turkish lives and lifting the ban on opium farming. This embargo enabled the development of the electronic warfare industry in Turkey.

In addition, in the 1990s, the U.S. and European Union sanctions against Turkey – due to Turkey’s fight against the PKK – accelerated the production of armoured vehicles, cannons, and rockets in Turkey.

American legislators should abandon the nineteenth-century imperialist mindset of trying to get results by imposing sanctions on countries. With a mindset like that, they may be appreciated by the ethnic lobbyists in their constituencies and not by the Turkish Grand National Assembly.