War in the Caucasus: Canada suspends drone technology export to Turkey

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Turkey
Comments Off on War in the Caucasus: Canada suspends drone technology export to Turkey

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg was in Turkey on Monday; There is no shortage of conflicts in which the NATO member is significantly involved: Syria, the eastern Mediterranean, Libya and now Nagorno-Karabakh – Turkish war equipment, soldiers and mercenaries are involved everywhere, who aggressively promote the national interest with acts of war or how in the case of the dispute in the eastern Mediterranean, with the threat of military action to enforce or want to enforce it.

Since Turkey is on the other side of Russia with its military policy in Syria, Libya and its support for Azerbaijan, it was not to be expected that Stoltenberg would parade the Erdogan government – even if NATO member France has been doing this for months was requested.

It was important to Stoltenberg to document the agreement within NATO, probably also with a view to Russia. This message was highlighted by the government-affiliated Turkish newspaper al-Sabah-Daily:

“The NATO allies have decided to increase their support for Turkey. Secretary General Stoltenberg said that Ankara’s security is synonymous with the security of the alliance.”

This is followed by a sentence that is difficult to reconcile with reality, for example in Syria and Libya: “Praising Turkey’s role in the fight against terrorism, Stoltenberg said that the country played an important role in the fight against terrorism Has.”

Mediterranean: Mechanism for Military Conflict Prevention

But at least in the conflict in the Mediterranean between the NATO states Turkey and Greece, which threatened to escalate at times, there are now talks and signals of détente such as the return of another Turkish exploration ship called Yavuz, which was in service in southern Cyprus for months. The research vessel Oruc Reis had previously been ordered back from controversial waters. At the same time, however, the report about the return of the Yavuz states that another Turkish research ship named Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa is to continue operating off the south-east coast of Cyprus, and that the mission has been extended until October 18.

There is still a long way to go to resolve the disputes over sea borders and resources. Stoltenberg spoke of the fact that a mechanism for military conflict avoidance had now been set up. This includes a “24/7 hotline” between Turkey and Greece. The Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu thanked NATO for its mediating role, so al-Monitor.

In the English-language report of the al-Sabah-Daily, Cavusoglu’s expression of gratitude is reproduced with a prefix: “Still, I express my gratitude to NATO for its mediating role.”

Discrepancies in S-400

The Turkish Foreign Minister insisted at the press conference that Ankara would continue to pursue the interests of Turkey and the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. In addition, the report indicates that there was no agreement in principle on the sensitive issue of the Russian S-400 air defense system, nor on the conflict in the Caucasus.

Stoltenberg emphasized that the S-400 system “could not be integrated into NATO’s defense system”. [In the FAZ he is quoted as saying that Turkey should procure a different defense system because “it could pose a risk to Allied aircraft”.] Cavusoglu countered that Turkey “had to buy” S-400s from Russia because no patriots were received from the allies.

Aggressive against Armenia

With regard to the war in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Turkish foreign minister remained true to the aggressive rhetoric of Erdogan, who in July called “Armenia an invader” during battles on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. In Cavusoglu’s presentation at the press conference on Stoltenberg’s visit, the war guilt lies clearly with Armenia. He also claimed that there was no military support for Azerbaijan from Turkey. This would only be done if the Baku government asked for it.

Apart from the typical allegations (here the Armenian side, there the side of Azerbaijan), who started what this time, there are also other representations, especially regarding the military support from Ankara.

Meanwhile, experts with good connections to Syrian militias such as the French journalist Wassim Nasr have confirmed that Turkey has recruited and paid Syrian militia fighters from its allied Syrian National Army to intervene in the conflict in the Caucasus. (To the annoyance of the jihadists in northern Syria, who see it as a betrayal of their cause, not least because the withdrawal weakens them).

The fact that Ankara has supported Baku for many years and that there are several military cooperation agreements between Anakara and Baku is undisputed, as is the use of Turkish drones in the current war between Armenia, Arzach (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Azerbaijan. Turkey equipped the “brother nation” Azerbaijan with modern war technology. There were also clear signals from Ankara that assured military support (see Erdogan’s new war).

Canada suspends technology export

Apparently reports from the war zone led to a much stricter reaction to the Canadian government than to the NATO Secretary General, who officially left it at the non-binding statement that a military solution was not the right one. Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced, however, that the export of Canadian drone technology (optical systems, laser systems for target recognition) to Turkey will be suspended. Canadian-made sensors are built into the Turkish TB2 Bayraktar drones, which can monitor processes on the ground even in bad weather and at night, reports CBC.ca.

In the last few days he had heard of allegations that drones with Canadian technology were being used in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to Foreign Minister Champagne. Therefore, in accordance with Canadian export regulations, he is exposing them to the current hostilities. The situation will be examined further.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted angrily and accused Canada of double standards, since the country also exports weapons that are used in the Yemen War, delivered to nations that, unlike Turkey, are not a NATO member. The senior representative of the Turkish arms industry indicated that one could get by without the technology from Canada, since the company’s own weapons development was making progress.

Turkish support for the government in Baku is also shared by the opposition party CHP: “The hearts of 83 million Turks beat for Azerbaijan,” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Apart from the HDP, Erdogan’s military policy apparently has no domestic opponents.

As long as he keeps Russia busy on the various fronts, NATO will not object to his war policy either.

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