Canada has officially scrapped export permits for Canadian drone technology parts for Turkey’s drone industry, formalising a decision to suspend Canadian exports that was taken last October after images came to light of the wreckages of Turkish drones downed by Armenians fighting Azeri forces in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh showing evidence of drone parts from various countries – including Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.
Canada’s decision to halt drone parts exports follows on from another decision to halt drone parts exports by Rotax, an Austrian-based aerospace company that also decided to stop supplying its 912-model recreational aircraft engines to the Turkish drone company, Baykar in Oct 2020.
And in January this year, the British firm Andair also halted sales of drones components to the Turkish drone company after it came to light that Turkey was using its components on military drones.
These developments come as Turkey continues to race ahead with it’s own domestic drone production with trials of the new ‘next generation’ Akinci drone that is nearing completion.
The Akinci drone reportedly will be able to fly for 24 hours, fly at 40,000 feet (12,192 metres), have a 20-metre wingspan and the capacity to carry a load of 1,350 kg (2,976 pounds) of missiles and bombs. It is nearing completion of its trials and is expected to go into mass production in Turkey soon.
Turkey’s drones have been used extensively in its war against the Kurds in North East Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan, routinely killing civilians and Kurdish fighters.
The Guardian recently reported that Turkey’s drones have been responsible for the deaths of dozens of Kurdish civilians in South Kurdistan and drones have been responsible for the targeting of Kurdish civilians in North East Syria, such as the targeted extrajudicial assassination of three Kurdish women activists of Kongra Star who were killed as they were meeting in the garden of a house in a village near Kobane.
The latest halt in sales have been as a result of a well organised campaign by Armenian activists and the Armenian government, producing files with images from downed drones and so providing the ‘evidence’ in forms of detailed images from the wreckages showing the drone parts in detail with serial numbers, countries of origin, etc. This is the kind of evidence that is needed from North East Syria and Kurdistan where Turkey continues to use its drones to deadly effect against civilians and Kurdish fighters to the silence of European countries’ governments.
The UK has been accused of providing Turkish drones with technology used in its deadly military drones that have been used against the Kurds, as The Guardian has highlighted.
Meanwhile, UK based campaign Boycott Turkey has appealed again to the UK government to halt all UK arms exports to Turkey. It notes on it’s website that “Turkey is a priority market for British arms companies. According to figures compiled by the Campaign Against Arms Trade, the UK government has approved at least £1.5bn worth of arms export licenses since 2008. However, this is only the figure which the UK government has released: the actual figure may be much higher. The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, a governing document of the British Government, forbids the sale of arms to regimes which carry out human rights abuses. It’s clear that arming Turkey breaks UK arms export laws. But the value of known UK export licences for military equipment to Turkey from July 2013 to June 2016 was £466 million, and has been rising. Many of the licences were for components, including those for surface-to-air missiles and helicopters”.
Boycott Turkey concluded by appealing to supporters to “take action against the Turkish and international companies selling weapons to the Turkish state. And to pressure all governments to end all military cooperation with the Turkish state, including the issuing of export licences to Turkey and campaign for the immediate imposition of a complete international arms embargo against the Turkish state, including so-called ‘dual-use technology'”.