Turkey has warned Canada over Ontario-made weapons recently seized during an anti-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) operation, state-run news service Anadolu Agency reported on July 24.
In late April, Turkish security forces killed seven members of the outlawed PKK in the southeastern province of Mardin in late April.
Among equipment seized was a NEA-15 assault rifle, made by the North Eastern Arms of Ontario, Anadolu Agency said, citing a report by Canadian newspaper the National Post from July 22.
The Canadian newspaper added that it is unclear how the weapon found its way into the hands of the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group by Canada.
Selçuk Ünal, Turkey’s ambassador to Canada, told Anadolu Agency that Ankara has repeatedly expressed its objections regarding the arming of various groups, particularly the terror organizations in Iraq and Syria.
“We have warned our allies including Canada that weapons given to different groups in Iraq including the Union of Iraqi Kurdistan Patriots (IKYB) could fall into the hands of organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the PKK/Democratic Union Party [PYD],” Ünal said, adding that Turkey has taken necessary initiatives.
The government conducted an investigation after reports indicated weapons “may have been diverted from their intended end-use,” the National Post quoted John Babcock, a Global Affairs Canada spokesman, as saying.
“Canada directly engaged relevant Iraqi authorities to convey our serious concerns. In response, Canada received additional, strict, end-use assurances,” Babcock said.
In 2016 the Armament Research Services, which provides analysis on weapons for governments and the private sector, reported that the Kurdish Peshmerga and personal security detachments within the Iraqi Special Operations Force 1 Brigade were being armed with rifles produced by North Eastern Arms, the National Post said.
The NEA-15 is based on the popular United States AR-15 rifle, with variants used by both civilian and military shooters, according to the newspaper. NEA-15s sell for between $1,100 and $1,300 each.