Canada Suspends Exports of Military Drone Technology to Turkey

The federal government is suspending exports of Canada’s sophisticated drone technology to Turkey while Ottawa is investigating claims that the technology is being used by the Azerbaijani military against Armenian forces. in Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Monday.

Champagne responded to complaints by the Armenian community in Canada and the disarmament group held by Plowshares International by stopping the export of Canadian optical and laser-targeted unmanned systems to Turkey after It was reported that Ankara deployed dozens of drones against Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist zone of Azerbaijan.

Kelsey Gallagher, an expert with Project Plowshares who has studied Canadian drone technology exports to Turkey, said these sensors are used by TB2 Bayraktar combat drones. of Turkey, allowing them to see what’s happening on the ground day and night, in all weather conditions.

Armenia has accused Turkey of using the TB2 Bayraktar fighter drones that were left in Azerbaijan after recent joint exercises to defeat Armenian forces from the air, gather intelligence and only Artillery and rockets are directed at both military positions and civilian infrastructure.

Armenia also accuses Turkey of relocating fighter jets from Syria to aid Azerbaijani forces. Turkey has denied sending people or weapons to the conflict.

Champagne said in a statement “In line with Canada’s strong regime of export controls and due to ongoing conflicts, I have suspended related export permits to Turkey, for some time. time to further assess the situation. “

Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan but has been under the control of Armenian-backed Armenian forces since the country declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991 while the Soviet Union disintegrated.

The fierce fighting along the entire Liaison Line in Nagorno-Karabakh took place for the ninth straight day on Monday, with the Armenian authorities reporting that the capital, Stepanakert and several other towns of the region. under intense shelling.

Armenians reported being hit by cluster bombs that the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions has banned.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijan Defense Ministry accused Armenian forces of shelling on the towns of Tartar, Barda and Beylagan.

Officials said Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, located about 100 kilometres north of Nagorno-Karabakh, was also “shot on fire”.

“Canada continues to be concerned about the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh that has resulted in shelling on the community and civilian casualties,” Champagne said.

“We call for measures to be taken immediately to stabilize the situation in the field and reiterate that there is no alternative to a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict.”

Speaking at a press conference Monday morning in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would send Champagne to Europe to discuss with Canadian allies about developments in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, especially in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian Embassy in Ottawa welcomed Champagne’s announcement.

Armenian community organizations in Canada that have been campaigning strongly to stop military exports to Turkey also welcomed the announcement.

The Armenian community also wants Prime Minister Trudeau to play a more active diplomatic role by calling on his counterparts in Turkey and Azerbaijan to cease fire immediately.

On the Turkish side, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday accusing Canada of adopting a “double standard approach”. “There is no explanation as to why Canada is blocking exports of defence materials to a NATO ally,” the statement said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday stressed that Turkey will stand side by side with its ally Azerbaijan until “victory” is achieved.

He also stated that it was the silence of the international community in the face of what he called Armenia’s past act of aggression that encouraged them to attack Azerbaijan territory.

“In fact, support for the struggle to liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is the duty of all honourable states.

The world can’t achieve lasting peace and tranquillity without escaping the bandit states and their bandit leaders, “Erdogan said in a speech to the nation after the cabinet meeting.

Earlier, Prime Minister Pashinyan of Armenia said “a ceasefire can only be established if Turkey is withdrawn from the South Caucasus.”

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