Canada to probe reports of its technology used by Azeri forces

Canada is in the process of assessing the truth of allegations that Azeri forces have been using Canadian weapons technologies originally exported to Turkey in their ongoing conflict with Armenia, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.

Reuters reported that a Canadian arms control group discovered footage from Azeri drone strikes that showed Canadian-made imaging and targeting systems in use.

Canadian arms manufacturer L3 Harris Wescam had exported seven such systems to Baykar, the Turkish aeronautical company owned by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s in-laws which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drones that Turkey has sold to Azerbaijan.

The Canadian Foreign Ministry “has launched an investigation into what exactly happened” with the possible use of Canadian military equipment, Trudeau told reporters.

Expressing extreme concern over the clashes, Trudeau said, “It is extremely important that the terms of Canada’s expectations of non-violation of human rights (are) always respected.”

Canadian law prohibits the sale of weapons if they could be used to violate human rights or humanitarian law.

Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said, in a separate statement, he was willing to halt military export permits to Turkey, depending on the outcome of the investigation, Canada-based Global News reported. The country will consult with NATO and other allies to get the best possible intelligence on the matter, he said.

Canada had suspended new export permits to Turkey last year, upon the country’s incursions into northern Syria in October against Syrian Kurds.

Bayraktar drones fitted with Canadian technology would have significantly increased Azerbaijan’s aerial capacity, Global News cited independent researcher Jon Horler as saying.

Watchdog Project Ploughshares had issued a report earlier in September saying they had collected evidence that “strongly indicates” that Turkey had utilised the Canadian sensors extensively in its recent military operations.

Turkey’s military is alledged to have "committed serious breaches of international humanitarian law and other violations, particularly when conducting air strikes” in conflicts including Libya - which would be in violation of a United Nations arms embargo on the North African country, the report said.