An open letter to Armenia from a Romanian

Greek City Times
Dec 9 2020

Armenia, I know your sorrow and your bravery. You fought for your ancestral land, for a righteous cause, and still the drums of victory and dances are heard on the side of those that are unfair and willful. Such tragic events often take place in human history.

As a Romanian, I know this better than most Europeans: my family had to leave their possessions from Macedonia due to Turkish oppression hundreds of years ago.

On another line of the family, we lost everything when the Bolsheviks took over our mansion and lands from Khotyn (in the historic Romanian region of Northern Bukovina) at the end of World War II.

I am thus sympathetic to the Armenian people, and pray for those that fought for their homeland and for their Orthodox faith and fell.

The conflict was asymmetric and the main disadvantage of Armenia was a lack of anti-UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle) defense system, combined with a désuète military doctrine.

However, at individual level, it was evident that the character and training of the Armenian forces was superior to that of its opponents.

Right now the priority is to make measures in order to prevent further indirect or direct aggression from Turkey in the Caucasus and Balkan regions.

From my perspective, developing low-cost anti-UAV systems in Armenia (and Romania and Greece) is essential towards this purpose.

Autonomous systems and robotic drones technology can be made low cost, and with enough creativity, Armenia is able to develop its first medium range surveillance unmanned systems, anti-UAV UCAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle) and solid-propellant missiles in approximately one year, if a focused effort is made.

As I see the situation, Turkey would have an interest to create further political turmoil in both Armenia and the Balkans in order to distract people’s attention from the essential matters: it is up to the people to individually support and contribute to such a national effort.

This effort would require opening application-focused research projects at the National Polytechnic Institute of Armenia, the Yerevan University and other institutions. Hardware development would be done in research facilities distributed across the country.

Such facilities would be distributed across the country in the form of makerspaces with CNC machines and electronics laboratories.

These statements may surprise you, but I have to remind you that the beginnings of the Turkish UAV industry started with an MIT student drop-out, Selçuk Bayraktar, about ten years ago.

After obtaining support from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a few years ago, Baykar was able to produce multiple high tech UCAV and they started an extended STEM program in Turkey in order to train the next generation of engineers, scientists and military personnel.

Such measures can be also taken in the Balkans and Armenia, in order to be able to produce the technology that allows us to protect our national sovereignty.

Those that observed the political movements of the last years have seen an alarming increase in Turkey’s military spending and many aggressive moves, such as starting conflicts in the Aegean with the Greeks, illegally extracting natural gas from Romania’s maritime space, bringing war criminals and terrorists into the Nagorno-Karabakh region and many others.

From a geopolitical and geostrategic point of view, Turkey has a neo-Ottoman agenda, which includes eliminating competent elites (STEM, military, political) in the Balkans through the use of their Turkish-speaking private schools.

Moreover Turkey is evolving on a line in which it seems more probable to exit (or be excluded from) NATO and try to extend its control over the Black Sea (due to economic reasons, such as the Silk Road presence).

As a Romanian, I know that it is imperative that we act before it’s too late. The sleep of reason produces monsters.

The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.

Codrin Paul Oneci is a Romanian student studying aerospace engineering and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).