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Canada cancels weapons sales to Turkey

AR-15 rifle [George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
AR-15 rifle [George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Canada has cancelled all defence exports to Turkey after they were suspended last year following the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, the nation's Foreign Minister Marc Garneau announced yesterday.

Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence conducted a thorough review of all suspended and valid export permits for all military goods and technology destined to Turkey, the official explained.

"Following this review, which found credible evidence that Canadian technology exported to Turkey was used in Nagorno-Karabakh, today I am announcing the cancellation of permits that were suspended in the fall of 2020," Garneau said in a statement.

Armenia/Azerbaijan fighting rages - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Armenia/Azerbaijan fighting rages – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

"This use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey," he added.

"Turkey is an important NATO ally and applications related to NATO cooperation programs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis."

Canada suspended the issuance of new export permits to Turkey in October of 2019, following Ankara's military incursion into Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria. But this was reversed in late April 2020.

Many military experts say Turkish drones — some of which use sensors bought from Canada — played a significant role in Azerbaijan's victory in the 44-day war.

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Turkey has accused Canada of maintaining a double standard, pointing to its continued arms shipments to Saudi Arabia despite that country's leading role in the Yemen conflict and its poor human rights record.

"We expect our NATO allies to avoid unconstructive steps that will negatively affect our bilateral relations and undermine alliance solidarity," said a statement by the Turkish embassy in Ottawa.

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