Canada cancels all arms export permits to Turkey, cites use of technology against Armenian forces

Canada on Monday scrapped export permits for drone technology to Turkey after concluding the equipment had been used by Azerbaijani forces fighting Armenian forces in Nagorno-, said Foreign Minister Marc Garneau.

“This use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey,” Garneau said in a statement, adding he had raised his concerns with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Last fall, in line with our robust export control regime, the Government of Canada suspended export permits for military goods and technology to Turkey pending the results of an investigation into allegations that Canadian technology was being used by Azerbaijan in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Those suspensions followed the decision to suspend the issuance of new export permits to Turkey in the fall of 2019, following its military incursion into northeastern Syria.

“Global Affairs Canada, in consultation with the Department of National Defense, has since conducted a thorough review of all suspended and valid export permits for all military goods and technology destined to Turkey,”  Marc Garneau said.

“Following this review, which found credible evidence that Canadian technology exported to Turkey was used in Nagorno-Karabakh, today I am announcing the cancellation of permits that were suspended in the fall of 2020,” the Foreign Minister stated.

He noted that “this use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey.”

“This morning, I spoke with Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to reiterate Canada’s concern and to initiate a dialogue mechanism between Canadian and Turkish officials to build mutual confidence and greater cooperation on export permits to ensure consistency with end-use assurances before any further permits for military goods and technology (Group 2) are issued,” the Canadian Foreign Minister said,

“Turkey is an important NATO ally and applications related to NATO cooperation programs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis,” he concluded.

Earlier on Monday, Turkey said Cavusoglu had urged Canada to review the defense industry restrictions.

The parts under embargo include camera systems for Baykar armed drones. Export licenses were suspended in 2019 during Turkish military activities in Syria. Restrictions were then eased, but reimposed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkey’s military exports to Azerbaijan jumped sixfold last year. Sales of drones and other military equipment rose to $77 million in September alone before fighting broke out in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, data showed.

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