By MICHAEL STARR
MARCH 19, 2021 14:27
The Canadian government has been selling sensitive drone technology to Turkey last year, which was used by Azerbaijan in its 2020 conflict with Armenia, Ricochet reported.
Internal government documents revealed that the Trudeau government exported the Wescam optics for drones to Turkey in coordination with a defense lobbyist with connections to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal party.
Canada had previously suspended arms sales to Turkey in 2019, but parts were rolled back in 2020 after Trudeau met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Baykar, the Turkish defense company that produced the drones which housed the Canadian-made Wescam optics, reportedly has close connections to Erodgan's son-in-law.
Ken Mackay, a past Liberal donor, has worked for Wescam in the past, and lobbied the Canadian government on behalf of Baykar around the time of the exports.
Turkey has rebuffed attempt to discover how the Canadian tech was used, but Turkish drones were used heavily in the recent 2020 escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. There have been accusations of war crimes and improper conduct by parties of the conflict.
Drones featured heavily in the conflagration. A large Azeri drone arsenal helped them to overpower and outmaneuver their Armenian opponents in 2020. Armed drones and kamikaze munitions were used to suppress anti-air emplacements and destroy artillery positions.
Canada and Turkey are not the only countries that have been criticized for the involvement of their drone tech in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Israeli kamikaze drones such as Orbiter 1K and Harop, also referred to as "loitering munitions," have been used to effect.
The Azeri military is reportedly quite pleased with the Israeli armaments in its possession. Inversely, Armenian leaders have strongly voiced their displeasure of Israel's drone sales to their opponents.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia centers on disputed territory that is internationally recognized as being Azeri, but was long governed and populated by Armenians. Russia managed to intervene and established a ceasefire in which territories were taken into Azeri possession.
For more on drone warfare, see analysis and writing by Jerusalem Post journalist Seth Frantzman.