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Canada cancels military export permits for Turkey after illegal transfers abroad

The announcement was made by Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, who said that the Canadian technology exported to Turkey was “not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey”

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Canada ordered the cancellation of all permits that allowed exporting military goods to Turkey on Monday after a review found that Ankara illegally transferred Canadian technology to Azerbaijan during last year’s Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The announcement was made by Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, who said that the Canadian technology exported to Turkey was “not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey.”

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“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.

The Canadian official said he spoke with his Turkish counterpart on Monday morning to reiterate Canada’s concerns. Garneau said there needed to be mutual confidence and greater cooperation on export permits to “ensure consistency with end-use assurances before any further permits for military goods and technology are issued.”

A report from the Canadian government said that new export permits to Turkey were temporarily suspended in October 2019 after concerns that a Turkish military incursion in northeastern Syria would roll back progress in the fight against ISIS.

An image grab taken from on Oct. 2, 2020 allegedly shows Azeri units destroying an Armenian field control post. (AFP)
An image grab taken from on Oct. 2, 2020 allegedly shows Azeri units destroying an Armenian field control post. (AFP)

And from October to December 2020, Canada reviewed all of its suspended and valid export permits with Turkey.

The review found that certain Canadian military goods and technology exported to Turkey were used in Nagorno-Karabakh, Libya and Syria.

Drones, most notably the Bayraktar TB2 UAVs, were used against Armenia during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the review said. These drones were equipped with Canadian sensors.

Al Arabiya English previously reported that Israel was also equipping Azerbaijan with drones to fight Armenia during the conflict that pitted a predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan against Christian Armenia.

Canada also asked Turkey to provide information on allegations that Canadian technology was used in Nagorno-Karabakh. “Turkey did not provide any such information,” Canada’s review of Turkey licenses read.

Separately, the Canadian government said Turkey had an “evolving relationship with the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which controls, militarily and administratively, the majority of the Idlib pocket that remains outside of [the Syrian] regime control.”

Read more: US slaps sanctions on Turkey over Russia’s S-400 air defense system purchase