Canada suspends exports of military drone technology to Turkey
Foreign affairs minister says move is in response to reports about Canadian drone tech in combat
The federal government is suspending the export of sophisticated Canadian drone technology to Turkey while Ottawa investigates claims that it is being used by the Azerbaijani military against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Monday.
Champagne was responding to calls by Canada's Armenian community and the disarmament group Ploughshares International to stop the export of Canadian drone optics and laser targeting systems to Turkey following reports that Ankara has deployed dozens of unmanned aircraft in combat against Armenian forces in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
Kelsey Gallagher, an expert with Project Ploughshares who has studied exports of Canadian drone technology to Turkey, said these sensors are used by Turkish TB2 Bayraktar combat drones, allowing them to see what's happening on the ground day and night, in all weather conditions.
"In line with Canada's robust export control regime and due to the ongoing hostilities, I have suspended the relevant export permits to Turkey, so as to allow time to further assess the situation."
Speaking at a press conference this morning in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he is sending Champagne to Europe "to discuss with our allies the developments in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh."
"Only through joint efforts can the international community stop Turkish-supported Azerbaijani aggression, backed by foreign mercenaries, against the vulnerable Armenian population."
It should be noted that the Turkish swarm drones that are being used in Syria, Libya, Armenia, Cyprus and Greece are 100% reliant on European, US and Canadian technology and that they are merely assembled in Turkey.
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