US lawmakers seek suspension of drone technology export to Turkey

Washington, Aug 11 (PTI) A bipartisan group of 26 lawmakers has urged the Biden administration to suspend export licences of drone technology to Turkey pending an official investigation into its destabilising role in South Asia and other regions.

In a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the 28 US Congressmen asked him to issue a report on the ramifications of Turkey’s drone industry with special attention to whether they include US technologies that violate American sanctions.

The letter led by Congressman David Cicilline and Gus Bilirakis comes on the heels of the first-ever Pakistan-sponsored terror drone attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which took place in the early morning hours of June 27.

Turkey has entered into agreements to sell drones to Poland and Pakistan and is discussing the joint production of armed UAVs and anti-drone defense systems with Russia and Pakistan, the letter said.

The potential for these drones to further destabilise flashpoints in the Caucasus, South Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and North Africa is too great to ignore, they wrote in the letter last week.

Several organisations like Hellenic American Leadership Association (HALC), Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), American Friends of Kurdistan, Middle East Forum, In Defense of Christians, and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) have supported the letter in a separate statement.

Pakistan’s introduction of terror drone warfare in Kashmir last month is an emerging threat to peace and stability in the region and the response from the US and world leaders must be swift, said Hindu American Foundation director of Government Relations and Policy Taniel Koushakjian.