Turkey’s armed forces fired a Chinese-designed ballistic missile that struck its target of Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, U.S. outlet National Interest reported on Sunday.
“Turkey’s domestically produced tactical ballistic missile Bora successfully struck its target after it was used for the first time in actual combat within the scope of Operation Claw in northern Iraq,” according to a report in pro-government Yeni Şafak, which also showed video of the Bora being fired.
The target was reportedly in the Khakurk region that Turkish forces hit in an operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has led an armed insurgency in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is labelled a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
The Bora is based on China’s B-611 short-range ballistic missile, brought to Turkey as part of Sino-Turkish defence ties that have delivered several pieces of Chinese weaponry to Ankara, according to National Interest.
Turkish pro-government outlets say engineers have managed to improve the original Chinese design. Last month, a Turkish defence expert explained for government-owned Anadolu news agency that the Turkish missile had greater accuracy and that Ankara planned to make them available for export sales.
“What’s interesting is how Turkey sees ballistic missiles as a must-have weapon in a region awash with missiles and regimes that aren’t friendly to Ankara,” said National Interest, citing the huge arsenals of Syria, Iran, and the Russian-supplied Iskander missiles of Armenia.
“To add some hot sauce to an already volatile region, Greek media is reporting that Greece is within range of the Bora,” said National Interest. “This raises the prospect of an Aegean arms race if Greece feels compelled to acquire new weapons against its traditional rival Turkey.”