New evidence suggest Turkish drones used in the Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict may have contained British components,
by Bethany Rielly
CAMPAIGNERS have called for an embargo on arms sales to Turkey after new evidence suggests that drones used in the Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict may have contained British components.
British-based campaign group Peace in Kurdistan (PIK) has demanded that the government cease arms sales to the Turkish regime over its alleged role in “deadly drone strikes.”
Turkey provided military support for Azerbaijan during the country’s 44-day conflict last year with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
This included arms transfers of Turkey’s Bayraktar TB-2 drones, the use of which are said to have given Azerbaijan a huge advantage over Armenia.
Images of drone fragments taken by Armenian activists from the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh suggest that certain parts — bomb racks and fuel pumps — were supplied by Brighton-based arms company EDO MBM Technologies.
The evidence was reported by Drone Wars on Wednesday.
“This implies that the components are in fact being used to enable the firing of missiles from Turkey’s growing unmanned aerial vehicle fleet which is responsible for thousands of civilian deaths and the destruction of schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure,” PIK claimed in a statement today.
“As an immediate and urgent measure, PIK calls on the British government to suspend all arms licenses and weapons sales to Turkey until it ends the occupation of Afrin, withdrawing all its troops and ending its bombing raids.”
Britain has licensed some £1.6 billion of arms sales to Turkey since 2008, including during its illegal invasion of Syria and increasing internal oppression.
The campaign said that Turkey also uses its drone fleet to execute Kurdish activists in Kobane and on its own civilian population.
Armenia and Azerbaijan’s six-week conflict claimed the lives of around 5,000 soldiers and 143 civilians on both sides, as well as displacing tens of thousands.
A government spokesperson said: “HMG complies with the OSCE arms embargo relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is considered as part of our export licensing process.
“We have not issued licences contrary to the arms embargo. We continue to monitor developments in the region closely.”