Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Turkey: A new player in Killer Drone Arena

This article is by

Share this article

Bayraktar TB2 -Turkey’s first indigenous produced armed drone | Source: Bayhaluk via Wikimedia

It is almost two decades since the military drone (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle --UAV) was used by any country (The USA) for aerial attack in a combat mission. It has led to a rush among the countries to acquire military drones through indigenous development programs or import from other countries.

Turkey tried to import the military drones from the USA and Israel but the product which it got was not up to the mark. After experiencing the difficulties in importing effective military drones, Turkey, through its robust private sector defence industry, started serious work to develop indigenous capability around 2010.  This focus paid off and in less than a decade Turkey became a major player in the production and export of military drones.

Bayraktar TB2 is Turkey’s first indigenously produced armed drone. It is developed by a private company “Baykar Makina.” This drone can fly at an altitude of 24,000 feet for up to 24 hours and relies on ground control stations for communication. With a range of up to 150 kilometres, it can carry a payload of 120 pounds and has become the backbone of its unmanned air force

The other heavier and satellite-linked military drone is ANKA-S which made its operational debut in 2019 during the battle over Idlib in Syria. It is manufactured by Turkish Aerospace Industries which is the giant of defence production in Turkey. It can fly for more than 24 hours carrying a 400-pound payload, and has the ability to detect, identify and track ground targets.

As of March 2020, Turkey has around 130 armed drones belonging to different versions of Bayraktar TB2, ANKA, and Karayel in service. These drones were critical in Turkey’s strikes against the Kurdish rebels and regime forces in Syria. Turkish drones were also credited to swing the momentum in the favour of UN recognised Libyan government against the onslaught by the renegade strongman; General Haftar led Libyan National Army in Libya

A report published by C4ISRNET, a publication that covers technology for defence and intelligence communities, said “Turkey’s decision to send a mass-coordinated UAV attack points to its availability of options It also stated that "Turkey joins the United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel, China and Iran as drone-armed nations."

As a logical extension to expanding drone programs Turkey has started looking for the opportunities in the competitive global market for military drones. It has so far exported the drones to Qatar, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan and is reportedly in talks with Pakistan, Indonesia, and Tunisia for the same.

The rapid advancement in the design, development, deployment, and export of killer drones has put spotlight on Turkey as a new player in a fiercely contested arena which is so far dominated by established heavyweight players.

Support us to bring the world closer

To keep our content accessible we don't charge anything from our readers and rely on donations to continue working. Your support is critical in keeping Global Views 360 independent and helps us to present a well-rounded world view on different international issues for you. Every contribution, however big or small, is valuable for us to keep on delivering in future as well.

Support Us

Share this article

Read More

October 18, 2020 6:46 PM

Bhagat Singh: The Man, The Life, And The Beliefs

Bhagat Singh is one of the ‘big names’ immortalised in the history of India’s freedom struggle and eternally cherished even after almost ninety years of his martyrdom. What makes him stand out is his popularity among the masses being almost on par with the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, despite his beliefs and actions being diametrically opposite to theirs.

Of the freedom fighters who remain mainstream in today’s India— a crowd predominantly made up of politicians with center or right of centre leanings, Bhagat Singh occupies a relatively lonely spot as a young, staunchly left-wing revolutionary who outrightly rejected Gandhi’s philosophy, and preferred direct action over politics.

Newspaper headline after Central Legislative Assembly non-lethal bombing

Bhagat Singh is most commonly and widely remembered in association with an incident where he, along with his friend and comrade B.K. Dutt dropped non-lethal smoke bombs into the Central Legislative Assembly from its balcony in 1929. They also scattered leaflets by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), which he was a major part of and was aided by in orchestrating the bombings. He is said to have been inspired by French anarchist Auguste Vaillant, who had bombed the Chamber of Deputies in Paris in 1893.

The bombing gathered widespread negative reaction due to the use of violence, especially from those who supported the Gandhian method. While Bhagat Singh and the HSRA wanted to protest exploitative legislatures such as the Public Safety Act and the Trades Disputes Bill, it is also widely accepted that they additionally intended to use the drama and public attention of the ensuing trial to garner attention to socialist and communist causes. Bhagat Singh and Dutt did not escape under the cover of panic and smoke despite the former carrying a pistol, and waited for the police to find and arrest them. During the trial Bhagat Singh frequently chanted a variety of slogans, such as ‘Inquilab Zindabad,’ which is even today often raised in protests across India.  

March 25th Newspaper carrying the news about execution of Bhagat Singh | Source: Tribune India

However, this was not the trial that ended in Bhagat Singh receiving his execution sentence. Before the Assembly bombings, Bhagat Singh had been involved in the shooting of police officer John Saunders, in connection to the death of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. At that time he and his associates had escaped, but after Bhagat Singh was awarded a life sentence for the Assembly bombing, a series of investigations led to his rearrest as part of the Saunders murder case. It was this trial— generally regarded as unjust— that led to his much protested execution sentence.

Bhagat Singh was hanged to death on the eve of March 23rd, 1931 and he was just twenty-three years old.

Despite the criticism he received for his actions, his execution sentence was widely opposed and many attempts were made to challenge it. In fact, his execution came on the eve of the Congress party’s annual convention, as protests against it worsened. He was memorialised nationwide as a martyr, and is often addressed with the honorific Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh.

Apart from being a socialist, Bhagat Singh was attracted to communist and anarchist causes as well. In ‘To Young Political Workers,’ his last testament before his death, he called for a “socialist order” and a reconstruction of society on a “new, i.e, Marxist basis.” He considered the government “a weapon in the hand of the ruling class”, which is reflected in his belief that Gandhian philosophy only meant the “replacement of one set of exploiters for another.” Additionally, he wrote a series of articles on anarchism, wanting to fight against mainstream miscontrusions of the word and explain his interest in anarchist ideology.

Bipin Chandra, who wrote the introduction to Why I am an Atheist by Bhagat Singh | Source: Wikimedia

While writing the introduction to Bhagat Singh’s remarkable essay Why I am an Atheist in 1979, Late Bipan Chandra described the Marxist leaning of Bhagat Singh and his associates in the following way;

Bhagat Singh was not only one of India’s greatest freedom fighters and revolutionary socialists, but also one of its early Marxist thinkers and ideologues. Unfortunately, this last aspect is relatively unknown with the result that all sorts of reactionaries, obscurantists and communalists have been wrongly and dishonestly trying to utilise for their own politics and ideologies the name and fame of Bhagat Singh and his comrades such as Chandra Shekhar Azad.”

Bhagat Singh is often admired and celebrated for his dedication to the cause of liberation. However his socialist, communist and anarchist beliefs were suppressed by the successive governments in Independent India. This in a way is the suppression of a revolutionary who has the potential to inspire, unite and motivate the growing population of a spectrum of activists all over India, in direct response to the fast-spreading divisiveness and intolerance in the country, often patronised by the groups and organizations professing the right-wing fascist ideology.

Bhagat Singh’s dreams of a new social order live on, not just in his writings, but also reflected in the hearts of every activist, protester, and dissenting citizen. The fight for freedom, revolution, Inquilab, may have changed in meaning, but it is far from over.

Read More