Canada halts some Turkey weapons export; UN field mission to Azerbaijan

Rachel Brooks

April 15, 2021 

Above image. Drone technology continues to advance, and nations are challenged by agreements over proper export protocols of the technology that composes a modern drone system. “File:’Wing GCS’ Portable Ground Control Station for UAVs (drones) from Worthington Sharpe.jpg” by Samworthington is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Continued rhetoric, including the “Spoils of War” museum scandal, creates rifts between nations over the heavy politicization of Azerbaijan’s defense sector. The “Spoils of War” created a heavy circulation of media response from outlets such as The Jerusalem Post, Persecution.org, and others. Azerbaijani citizens likewise protested the museum, stating that, if the roles were reversed and Armenia had erected such a museum of Azerbaijan’s fallen soldiers, the people of the nation would be traumatized. 

As the world criticized Azerbaijan’s government and accused it of “fomenting ethnic hatred” with the display, the U.N. meanwhile concluded its field mission to the region. This was reported by AzerNews on April 15. The UN country team conducted a three-day field mission to the nation to visit conflict-affected regions of Barda, Aghdam, and Tartar. 

On April 12, Radio Free Europe reported that Canada has blocked off some of its defense exports to Turkey after Turkey sent Canadian-tech-equipped drones to Azerbaijan during the Karabakh conflict. 

Azerbaijan during the 44-Day War in Karabakh in late 2020. Canada has halted some but not all of its military exports to Turkey, a NATO member, after a probe confirmed that some of Canada’s drone tech was in the shipment of military equipment sent to Azerbaijan by Turkey. Canada states that this transfer of its drone technology from Turkey to a third party is inconsistent with Canada’s defense policies. 

The official press release appeared as follows 

“April 12, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada 

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs today issued the following statement:​

“Last fall, in line with our robust export control regime, the Government of Canada suspended export permits for military goods and technology to Turkey pending the results of an investigation into allegations that Canadian technology was being used by Azerbaijan in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Those suspensions followed the decision to suspend the issuance of new export permits to Turkey in the fall of 2019, following its military incursion into northeastern Syria.

“Global Affairs Canada, in consultation with the Department of National Defence, has since conducted a thorough review of all suspended and valid export permits for all military goods and technology destined to Turkey. 

“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.

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

“This morning, I spoke with Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to reiterate Canada’s concern and to initiate a dialogue mechanism between Canadian and Turkish officials to build mutual confidence and greater cooperation on export permits to ensure consistency with end-use assurances before any further permits for military goods and technology (Group 2) are issued.

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

This decision and discussion were reached after a report was released from The Canadian Review, regarding the export permit for the Turkish drones that were equipped with Canadian drone technology. See the final report text here.