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The Role of Turkish Drones in Azerbaijan’s Increasing Military Effectiveness: An Assessment of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War

This study focuses on Turkey as a rising drone power in the international arena in recent years. In this context, the article will scrutinize the case of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, which broke out on September 27, 2020. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one of the frozen problems in the Caucasus region, was ended in favor of Azerbaijan less than two months later. Turkey took on a game-changing role in the region by supplying its ally Azerbaijan with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for use in the conflict, and significantly contributed to Azerbaijan’s victory. Turkey’s political, diplomatic, and military contributions to Azerbaijan will likely be discussed on the global agenda for years to come; this study will contribute to the literature on the role and impact of Turkey’s military support, especially its drones, on Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh victory.

The Role of Turkish Drones in Azerbaijan s Increasing Military
Bayraktar TB2 manufactured by Turkey’s Baykar Makina takes part in a military parade marking the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh military conflict in Baku. VALERY SHARIFULIN / TASS via Getty Images
 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War broke out on September 27, 2020, following short-term clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan around Tovuz in July 2020. The war resulted in significant gains for Azerbaijan in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region and serious losses for the Armenian army. Turkey, which lent military and diplomatic support to Azerbaijan, played a major role in the retaking of Baku’s occupied territories in the 44-day operation. Especially after Armenia’s attack on Tovuz, Turkey clearly supported Baku, and there was a transition from rhetoric to action in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Many different inventories were made available to Azerbaijan from among the Turkish defense industry’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). As a result, the status quo established by Russia in the region changed, and Armenia, which Moscow had supported for many years, lost to Azerbaijan in the field.

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