On April 12, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) announced the cancellation of 29 permits for the export of Canadian-made surveillance and targeting sensors to Turkey. The decision was based on what GAC described as “credible evidence” that the exports in question were being unlawfully diverted by Turkey to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The same report that announced the cancellation indicated that Turkish drones had also been diverted to support Turkish military operations in Syria.
Just before Canada halted certain weapons exports to Turkey in April 2021, the FAAE committee released nearly 1,000 pages of government documents on Canada’s arms deals with Turkey. Although heavily redacted, the documents provide an unmatched look into the Canadian arms trade, including previously confidential memoranda to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, hundreds of pages of internal correspondence by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and never-before-seen Canadian export permits for weapon systems.
On October 24, Radio Canada International reported that Canadian-based Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) had suspended the export of aircraft engines to “countries with unclear usage.” This action followed reports that these engines were being used in Turkish-built Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that Turkey had sent to support Azeri forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
On October 5, under mounting pressure from civil society and the Armenian diaspora community, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) suspended exports of Canadian-made L3Harris WESCAM surveillance and targeting sensors to Turkey. These sensors had been found on Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) that were illicitly diverted to Azerbaijan by ally Turkey for use in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Canada’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty last year necessitated some welcome changes to Canada’s arms-control policies. But it appears that the export regime’s human-rights protections are still flawed. In this article, we focus on the activities of the Canadian Commercial Corporation.
Since 2017, Turkey has been a major customer for WESCAM products, second only to the United States. During this time, the Turkish military has not only been active in trying to put down an insurgency in southeast Turkey, but has become increasingly involved in armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
In July 2020, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) released its latest strategic plan, Beyond the Horizon.
The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2 14 May 2020 Re: Final Report – Review of Export …
On April 10, GAC issued an official statement in support of a global ceasefire, in response to the high-profile appeal on March 23 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The day before, however, it had announced that it was lifting a moratorium on arms-export permits to Saudi Arabia, one of the worst violators of human and women’s rights on the planet.
A coalition of Canadian civil society organizations is deeply dismayed that Global Affairs Canada claims it has found “no credible evidence” linking Canadian exports of military equipment to human rights …
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