Home Europe Canada halts defense exports to Turkey in wake of Nagorno-Karabakh clash

Canada halts defense exports to Turkey in wake of Nagorno-Karabakh clash

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict
Illustration: Azerbaijan foreign affairs photo of the aftermath of a missile strike in border city Ganja

Canada is suspending exports of military unmanned systems technology to Turkey amid reports that the equipment had been used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Canadian foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne said the decision was made after allegations had been made regarding Canadian technology.

“Upon learning of these allegations, I immediately directed Global Affairs Canada to investigate these claims,” Champagne said in a statement. “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.”

The decision followed calls by Canada’s Armenian community to stop the export of Canadian optics and laser targeting systems to Turkey, which is supporting Azerbaijan in a conflict that has been heating up in the past weeks.

While the claim is yet to be verified, Armenia says Turkish F-16 jets shot down an Armenian Su-25 fighter late last month.

Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated in 2020, which has seen the most intense hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in four years. The conflict in the region, which is recognized as part of Azerbaijan but de-facto controlled by the breakaway Republic of Artsakh, has been ongoing since 1988.

The international community continues to urge both sides to immediately cease hostilities.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Monday that Turkey would stand with its ally Azerbaijan until it reaches “victory.”