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Unmanned aerial vehicles have become an integral part of Turkey’s foreign policy, but Turkey’s drone industry is facing scrutiny from the international community. Among other developments with this regard, Canada has recently announced the suspension of drone technology to Turkey. 

The expanding Turkish drone industry is the culmination of a two-decade drive to boost defense production with the aim of reducing Turkey’s reliance on western arms purchases and stoking national pride. 

Turkish-made drones operated by Azerbaijani forces are in the forefront in Azerbaijan’s fight to reclaim the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave from ethnic Armenian control. 

Armenian separatists took Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a bloody 1990s war that killed an estimated 30,000 people. Turkey has vowed support for Azerbaijan in the escalating conflict.

“Turkish drones are rapidly gaining technology advantage,” said defense analyst Arda Mevlutoglu, stressing that the conflict underscores Turkey’s growing reputation as a major drone player.

Drones are now an integral part of what analysts call Ankara’s hard power diplomacy, according to voanews.com.

It is not clear whether the TB2 drones that analysts say have been deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh are owned and operated by Azerbaijan’s military or by their Turkish counterparts, reports ft.com.