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Canada Suspends Export of Drone Tech Sales to Turkey

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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan urged all countries to suspend exports of military technology to Turkey, after defence officials displayed what they claim are high-tech Canadian components on a downed Turkish drone purportedly used by Azerbijan in its conflict with Armenia.

Armenian officials say Turkey’s homemade Bayraktar TB2 surveillance and attack drone was equipped with Canadian-made optical and target acquisitions systems manufactured by L3 Harris WESCAM, located in Burlington, Ontario.

Pashinyan said Armenian forces had shot down about a dozen Bayraktar TB2 drones, but this was the first they were able to recover. It is unclear where exactly the drone was shot down.

Shushan Stepanyan, spokesperson for the Armenian Defence Ministry stated that analysis showed that the WESCAM CMX-15D system was fitted on the drone in September, and had been used a total of 31 hours.

Canada has suspended the export of the defence technology to Turkey pending the outcome of the investigation into whether these devices were used by Azerbaijan in fighting against Armenian forces.

Canadian weapons systems exports require a permit from Global Affairs Canada which specifies the intended recipient and what the weapon system is to be used for. Diverting the drone technology to Azerbaijan without getting Canada’s permission is illegal, said Kelsey Gallagher, a researcher with the disarmament group Project Ploughshares.

“I think in my discussion with the foreign minister of Turkey I was very clear about the legal framework that exists in Canada when it comes to the export control regime, that Canada was party to the Arms Trade Treaty, that human rights are a core component under our legislation and I would abide by the spirit and the letter of the law,” Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters.

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