Skip to main content

Canadian defence company bankrupted due to arms embargo against Turkey

Ottawa's decision to cancel weapons sales to Turkey forced Telemus Systems to go bust, it has been revealed
Telemus Systems went bust after losing its contract to supply electronics for Turkish Aerospace Industries' Anka drone, seen here in Ankara on 5 March 2021 (AFP)
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

A Canadian defence company has gone bankrupt due to an arms embargo Ottawa imposed on Turkey in response to Ankara’s military operations in Syria and Azerbaijan

Telemus Systems Inc filed for bankruptcy last August because it lost its primary customer, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), following an arms embargo imposed by the Canadian government in 2020, according to a report prepared by the trustee KPMG Inc

The company was selling a wide array of electronic intelligence and electronic support systems to the Turkish customer for a military drone known as TAI Anka. 

“Despite the company’s repeated attempts to reach a resolution with Global Affairs Canada, including explaining the material adverse impact on the company’s financial situation and solvency, the company’s Turkish export permits remained suspended,” the report said. “As a result of the government sanctions, the company was no longer able to generate any revenue."

Canada arms sales to Saudi Arabia violate international law, rights groups say
Read More »

A Turkish official said that they had warned Ottawa of the possible fallout of the embargo. “We told them that this would harm both Turkish and Canadian companies,” the official told Middle East Eye. “We hope the new Canadian government will be more long sighted.” 

The Canadian government decided in April 2021 to cancel Telemus Systems' existing Turkish export permits as part of the arms embargo against Ankara, dealing the final blow to the company. 

The report indicated that Telemus incurred a net loss of $360,000 in 2020 and posted a net loss of $1.1m in 2021, before shutting down its operation on 31 July. 

Ottawa cancelled all defence exports to Turkey earlier this year after an investigation found that Canadian technology was used in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the country's foreign affairs minister said. 

Last year, Ottawa launched an investigation into whether Turkey had violated an end-user licence agreement by selling Turkish armed drones to Azerbaijan.

Ottawa initially imposed an embargo in response to Turkey's military incursion into Syria in 2019. It partially backtracked on this decision in June 2020 and approved the sale of drone optics after high-level talks with Turkey. However, Canada suspended military exports the following October, after video footage indicated the use of Canadian-made Wescam optics in drones in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.