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Armenia calls for Turkey arms embargo amid Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Turkey has been accused of supplying Azerbaijan with drones and jets [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 October, 2020

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Yerevan claims Canadian technology was found in a downed Turkish drone.
Armenia's prime minister urged the international community on Tuesday to suspend arms exports to Turkey over its supply of weaponry to rival Azerbaijan.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's comments came a day after Armenian defence officials published photos purported to show a downed Turkish drone used by Azerbaijani forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabkh region.

The Turkish Bayraktar TB2 downed by Armenian forces included Canadian-manufactured optical and target acquisition systems, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

Earlier this month, Canada suspended arms exports to Turkey pending an investigation into the use of Canadian military technology in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Canadian arms export system requires permits explicitly stated where a weapon will be used and by whom.

Diverting Turkish drones with Canadian components to Azerbaijan without Ottowa's permission would be illegal, researcher Kelsey Gallagher told Radio Canada International.

'Terrorist' accusations

The Armenian premier called on other countries to follow Canada's lead in response to the photos shared by the Armenian defence ministry.

"This fact proves Turkey's direct involvement in the terrorist war against Artsakh and the preparations for it," Pashinyan said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, referring to Nagorno-Karabakh by its Armenian name.

"And, based on this fact, the countries that supply the necessary components for 'Bayraktars' to Turkey should follow the example of Canada and suspend further supplies."
Ankara, a major ally of Azerbaijan, has condemned Ottowa's arms embargo and accused the NATO ally of being unfairly influenced by Armenian diaspora groups."

Turkey's foreign ministry hit-out at the claims.

"Our expectation from Canada, is to lead a policy that stays away from double standards, to act without falling under the influence of anti-Turkish groups in the country and without being trapped by narrow political interests," the ministry said in a statement earlier this month.

Armenia has repeatedly accused Turkey of direct involvement in the reignited conflict, including by allegedly sending F-16 jets and hundreds of Syrian mercernaries to fight alongside Azerbaijani forces. The alleged Syrian presence in Nagorno-Karabakh has also been reported by independent news outlets.

Officials from both countries have fiercely denied the allegations, with Azerbaijan alleging Armenia has recruited its own "terrorist" fighters from Lebanon and Syria.

Both sides have also accused one another of shelling civilian infrastructure, not only in Nagorno-Karabakh but in Armenia and Azerbaijan proper as well.

The most intense fighting in the disputed territory in over two decades broke out late last month, with Azerbaijani forces vowing to retake the mountainous region currently ruled by an ethnic Armenian breakaway government.

Nagorno-Karabakh is mainly populated by ethnic Armenians but is considered part of Azerbaijan. The territory and surrounding areas were seized by Armenian separatists after a war in the early 1990s that killed 30,000 people.

Both Azerbaijani and Armenian forces have been accused of committing war crimes including ethnic cleansing over the course of the conflict.


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