Canada Halts Arms Exports to Turkey

Helicopter of Turkish Army at Teknofest 2019. Credit: CeeGee/Wikimedia commons

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced on Monday that he is halting military export permits to Turkey.

Champagne ordered an investigation into claims the country was using Canadian technology in the fight between Armenia and Azerbaijan and announced the freeze 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,” he said.

“Canada continues to be concerned by the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting in shelling of communities and civilian casualties.”

Turkey has stated that it supports Azerbaijan in the conflict but denied claims from Armenia that it backed up this support with troops and fighter jets.

According to reports, Turkey is in fourth place globally in the most recent Canadian report on its arms exports, with $151,428,455 worth of materiel destined for Turkey in 2019. The Canadian peace research institute Project Ploughshares says it has evidence that a Canadian-developed sensor technology is being used in Turkish military drones.

Ploughshares researcher Kelsey Gallagher told CTVNews.ca the decision to halt all relevant export permits is “welcome news,” and shows “Canada’s arms control regime is working how it should,” but criticized the timing of the decision.

“These arms have posed a risk in Turkish hands for some time now and really should have tripped Canada’s risk assessment a long time ago; this is kind of overdue,” he said Monday.

The Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, Sevag Belian, also said Monday that he thanks the Canadian government for their decision.

While he said it’s an important step, he would like to see Canada officially condemn the acts of Turkey and work with international partners to “kick them out” of NATO.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Turkey has no place in NATO. Turkey is most certainly not a NATO ally and the are most certainly not a reliable ally to the Western world. They have nothing that resembles our shared values in the Western world, whether that is democracy, justice, respect for human rights,” he said in an interview with CTVNews.ca.