Turkey’s major drone manufacturer says Canada’s cancellation of drone technology export permits to Turkey will not harm Baykar.
Canada’s foreign minister, Marc Garneau on Monday said that his country had cancelled export permits for drone technology to Turkey after concluding that the country had been selling the equipment to Azerbaijani military forces during the ongoing fighting in the Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
In response, the chief technology officer of Baykar, the manufacturer of Turkish drones, Selcuk Bayraktar, said that Canada’s cancellation of drone technology export permits to Turkey will not harm major Turkish aviation firm Baykar.
Criticising Canada’s move, Bayraktar also said that if Turkey decides not to sell Canada armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) during an emergency, this may cause it serious problems especially given that Turkey is one of only four countries in the world that produces battle-tested drones.
As it is known, Baykar-produced Bayraktar TB2s played a key role during the conflict that erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Many experts argue that combat drones gave Azerbaijan the upper hand in both detecting and destroying enemy forces and military equipment, including armoured vehicles, howitzers and Russian-made air defence systems.
In footage released by Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, Turkey's drones could be seen destroying tanks, artillery and missiles that the Turkish Bayraktar TB2s demolished with ease.
In April this year, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev awarded Baykar’s CTO, Selcuk Bayraktar, with the “Karabakh Order” for his contributions to Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia.
Commenting further on Canada’s decision, Selcuk Bayraktar emphasised that the TB2 armed drone had been developed with an "entirely national and unique design," including all of its components, computers, software, hardware, aerodynamics, and mechanics.
"We proudly produce it with 93 percent domestic contributions, which can be counted as a world record," he added
He added that the parts Turkey had imported from Canada, including camera components, are already being developed and produced domestically.
Last year, following Canada’s suspension decision, Turkey’s state-backed defence giant, Aselsan was quick to develop and produce Common Aperture Targeting System cameras.
Bayraktar stressed that Canada, like many other countries with advanced aviation sectors, currently does not possess UAVs or armed UAVs of the kind Turkey produces.
"Embargoes have been around for years since we started this business, but none of them could stop us," he said.
During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, thanks to the support of Turkish drones, Armenia lost at least 200 tanks, 90 armoured vehicles and 182 artillery pieces.
Following these massive losses, Russia brokered a truce between the two countries after six weeks of clashes in the region which has been illegally occupied by ethnic Armenian forces who were backed by Yerevan since a separatist war ended in 1994.