Photo courtesy of PM Albin Kurti on Facebook.

Kosovo Acquires Bayraktar Drones from Turkiye

Kosovo Security Force has acquired Bayraktar TB-2 drones, a move that has upset Serbia, which is seeking military equipment from countries like China and UAE.

On Sunday, the PM of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, presented the Bayraktar TB-2 drones, which have been added to the Kosovo Security Force, KSF,  arsenal since May.

Kurti announced on Facebook that the government has purchased these drones from Turkiye, but not specifying how many drones have been bought.

Kurti stated that KSF officers have been trained to operate these drones. According to Kohavision, about 20 other officers are still in training in Turkiye and by the end of the year will join the existing contingent of KSF.

“In two years of governance, we have increased the number of soldiers by over 80 per cent and the budget for the army by over 100 per cent,” said Kurti.

Defense Minister, Armend Mehaj, declared that his main priority was the acquisition of modern weapons and equipment for the KSF.

Mehaj stated that with the warrior spirit inherited from the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, and the modern equipment they are “securing every day,” the KSF becomes an indomitable and peace-guaranteeing military.

“These are not the only equipment we possess. We have been and continue to be supplied every day to enhance our capacities,” Mehaj wrote on his Facebook. According to Mehaj, Kosovo should become the 33rd country that joins NATO.

In April, 2022, Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, had declared that Serbia was interested in buying Bayraktar drones, but after the news that Kosovo had signed the purchase with Turkiye, in late June, Serbian President Vucic said that Serbia gave up on purchasing Turkish Bayraktar drones because Ankara delivered them to Kosovo. “We will not cooperate with them, because they are the main suppliers of a non-existent state,” Vucic said on pro-government TV Pink.

In February, Vucic had declared Serbia will buy kamikaze drones from the UAE as well. 

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, leaders in Kosovo have consistently called for swift NATO membership as a guarantee of peace in the region.

President Vjosa Osmani visited the Bayraktar drone production factory during her visit to Turkiye on February 26, 2022.

Bayraktar is a relatively inexpensive drone but has significant effects. Drones of this type, such as the TB2, are used by several countries’ armed forces and have also been sent to Ukraine to assist Kiev’s forces in fighting against Russian occupation. Turkey has employed such drones in what it refers to as “counterterrorism operations” against Kurdish militants.

Kosovo Government has also invited its citizens to contribute to the Security Fund, a fund established in March, 2022, to respond to the security demands that Kosovo faces. 

“Our army is continuously being consolidated through investment in armaments and other military equipment,” Defense Minister, Armend Mehaj wrote on Monday on Facebook.  

Last year, Kosovo and Tukiye signed an interstate agreement in the field of defense, for the supply products for defense services. In 2021, Kosovo also had a contract with the Turkish state for the purchase of 14 armored military vehicles, Vuran, and weapons. In 2019, Turkiye donated Cobra armored vehicles to the KSF.

17/07/2023 - 14:38

17 July 2023 - 14:38

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