Turkey decries ‘double standard’ after Canada halts drone tech sales

Turkey on October 4 condemned what it said were attacks on civilians by Armenian forces on the Azerbaijani city of Ganja in the conflict over disputed breakaway region Nagorno-Karabakh. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 October 2020

Turkey decries ‘double standard’ after Canada halts drone tech sales

  • Turkey carefully sticks to its obligations under its comprehensive export-control regime, the ministry said
  • Canada suspended the export of some drone technology to Turkey while it investigates whether it was used by Azeri forces

ISTANBUL: Canada’s decision to suspend exports of some military technology over allegations the equipment was used by Azeri forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shows a double standard, Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
“Turkey expects Canada to follow a policy free of double standards and to act without being influenced from those opposed to Turkey,” the ministry said in a statement.
“There is no explanation of blocking defense equipment exports to a NATO ally while ... Canada does not see any harm in exporting arms to countries that have military involvement in the crisis in Yemen,” it said.
Turkey carefully sticks to its obligations under its comprehensive export-control regime, the ministry added.
Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Monday Canada suspended the export of some drone technology to Turkey while it investigates whether it was used by Azeri forces in more than a week of fierce clashes with Armenia.
Turkey has in the past supplied drones to Azerbaijan and has repeated it stands firmly beside its close ally in the conflict over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Canadian arms control group Project Ploughshares says video of air strikes released by Baku indicates the drones had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc. .
Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of attacking civilian areas and hundreds of people have been killed in the deadliest clashes in the region for more than 25 years. NATO has urged an immediate cease-fire.


Kuwait’s new emir calls for national unity ahead of elections

Updated 33 min 41 sec ago

Kuwait’s new emir calls for national unity ahead of elections

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah called on Tuesday for national unity to meet challenges facing the Gulf state, in a speech to lawmakers ahead of elections on Dec. 5.
The parliamentary elections come at a time when the wealthy OPEC member is facing a liquidity crisis caused by low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic against the backdrop of continued tensions between larger neighbors Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“National unity has proven to be our strongest weapon in facing challenges, dangers and crises,” said the emir, who assumed power last month on the death of the previous ruler.
Frequent clashes between the cabinet and parliament have led to successive government reshuffles and dissolutions of parliament, hindering investment and reform efforts. The outspoken assembly, the Gulf’s oldest legislature, can block bills and question ministers.
Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, also addressing the opening of a supplementary legislative session, called for greater efforts to “diversify revenue sources and rationalize spending and consumption ... without detriment to citizens” in the cradle-to-grave welfare state.
He said the government was seeking more sustainable tools to finance the budget, in which public sector salaries and subsidies accounted for 71% of spending for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
The nearly $140 billion economy is facing a yawning deficit of $46 billion this year. A priority will be overcoming legislative gridlock on a bill that would allow Kuwait to tap international debt markets.
Lawmakers opposed to the debt law have called for clarity on government plans to reduce reliance on oil exports, which accounted for 89% of revenues in the last fiscal year.
The emir is expected to maintain oil and investment policy and a balanced foreign policy that strove for Arab unity.
In his speech, the premier said Kuwait would continue mediation efforts to end a Gulf dispute that has seen Saudi Arabia and its allies boycott Qatar since mid-2017. He reiterated his country’s support for Palestinians’ rights.