Turkey delivers hundreds of heavy machine guns to Ukraine

Turkey delivers hundreds of heavy machine guns to Ukraine
Canik’s M2 QCB (quick change barrel) 50 cal. heavy machine gun, billed by the firm as inspired by the famous Browning M2 built in 1919. / Canik website
By bne IntelIiNews October 4, 2023

Turkish arms producer Canik has reportedly delivered 600 Canik M2 heavy machine guns to Ukraine.

At an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 per gun, the deliveries were worth $10mn, an unnamed expert was reported as saying by Middle East Eye (MEE) on October 2. Based on contracts signed in March, more guns will be delivered in the coming months, two sources familiar with the sale told the publication.

Turkey, a Nato member, generally takes a neutral approach to the Russia-Ukraine war, arguing that by maintaining friendly relations with both of its neighbours across the Black Sea it could potentially serve as a mediator trusted by both Kyiv and Moscow in future peace talks. However, Western powers remain concerned that Ankara far too readily turns a blind eye to profitable sales of sanctioned goods to Russia and tends to show substantial sympathy to the Kremlin when that approach is deemed helpful to Turkey’s geopolitical or economic interests. On September 21, while in New York for the UN General Assembly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that that he does not agree with the negative approaches that other leaders were showing towards Vladimir Putin. 

At the same time, during the course of the war so far Ankara is known to have quietly supplied Ukraine’s military with items including armed drones, laser-guided missiles, protective gear and armoured vehicles. 

Publicly available photographs of guns provided to Kyiv by Canik—a Samsun-based firm that is a unit of Samsun Yurt Savunma Sanayi (SYS)—have been taken in Ukraine, according to The Armourer’s Bench defence blog, adding: “Back in April, Ukraine received a shipment of dual mounted M2F guns which were seen mounted on Nissan pickup trucks.”

Canik M2 heavy machine gun models can be used by both ground troops or combined with armoured vehicles. M2Fs can be used to target small drones, the blog noted.

"The deal [between Canik and Ukraine] envisions a much larger number delivered than 600; more will be sent in coming months," MEE reported one of its sources as saying. 

In terms of future Turkish combat drone supplies to Ukraine, in August last year Ukraine's ambassador to Turkey claimed Turkish defence company Baykar, the producer of the Bayraktar TB2 attack drone, was already in the process of building a factory at an undisclosed location on Ukrainian territory to make the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Baykar has established a company in Ukraine and the intended plant, previously rumoured to be under construction even before the start of the Russian invasion of its neighbour in late February 2022, was in development, the envoy, Vasyl Bodnar, said in an interview with RBC Ukraine.

US intelligence, meanwhile, said in June that Iran is helping Moscow build an armed drone manufacturing facility in Russia.