Canada suspends drone technology sales to Turkey after claims of use by Azeri forces

Canada suspends drone technology sales to Turkey after claims of use by Azeri forces
Canada suspends drone technology sales to Turkey after claims of use by Azeri forces

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A sapper works next to an unexploded BM-30 Smerch rocket allegedly fired by Armenian forces in the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the town of Mingachevir, Azerbaijan October 5, 2020. ― Reuters pic

OTTAWA, Oct 6 ― Canada has suspended the export of some drone technology to Turkey while it probes allegations the equipment was used by Azeri forces involved in fighting with Armenia, a senior official said yesterday.

Project Ploughshares, a Canadian arms control group, says video of air strikes released by Baku indicates the drones had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.

“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,” said Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

The Globe and Mail said L3Harris Wescam had received permission this year to ship seven systems to Turkish drone maker Baykar. Turkey is a key ally of Azerbaijan, whose forces are fighting Armenians over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Separately, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters he had asked Champagne to travel to Europe “to discuss with our allies the developments in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh”.

He did not give more details and an aide to Champagne said the exact itinerary had not yet been worked out. ― Reuters

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