Canada has extended indefinitely its ban on new arms exports to its NATO ally Turkey, CBC confirmed yesterday.
The Deputy Director of the export control division at Canada's Department of Global Affairs, Charles-Marie Matte, was revealed to have announced in his emails that approvals to sell new arms to Turkey have been suspended "until further notice".
The ban goes back to October last year in response to Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria — Operation Peace Spring — which Ankara insists was necessary to protect its national security by clearing the Kurdish-led militias from the border and establishing a safe zone where Syrian refugees could find safety in the ongoing nine-year-long civil war.
Although it remains on a Canadian government list of "trusted" states with which defence contractors are allowed to trade and do business with, the extension of the ban means that certain military items "will be presumptively denied" to Turkey. The ban includes items such as ammunition, light weapons, armour, protective equipment and electronics.
There are, however, "exceptional circumstances" in which the ban will not apply, an example being the export of components for any "NATO missile defence system," explained Matte.
Although it is a member of NATO, Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase Russia's S-400 missile defence system. The resultant tension between Turkey and the US has seen Ankara confirming that it would also be willing to purchase the US-made MIM-104 Patriot missile defence system if Washington agrees to a good price.
If that purchase goes ahead, it would also be linked to Canada as the US defence contractor Raytheon, which manufactures the Patriot system, has a branch there. The North American country is not the only state to enforce an arms embargo on Turkey following the military operation last year. Others include Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.