OLATHE, Kansas – Armenian protests at the headquarters of Garmin International at Olathe, Kansas, on November 6 against the use of Garmin GPS technology in Bayraktar drones used in the Karabakh war by Azerbaijan and Turkey against Armenians appears to have been a factor leading to the company instructing its dealers to cease selling Garmin products to Baykar and other related companies.
The protestors included individuals flying in from Los Angeles as well as members of the Kansas Armenian community. The Armenian demands were sent in a letter to the company prior to the protest, which took place as the letter did not alone lead to a resolution of the issue. On November 4, Garmin promised to investigate how its technology found its way into the Turkish drones and declared it would take appropriate action afterwards.
Garmin issued the following statement on November 9 on its corporate website. “It has been brought to Garmin’s attention that one of our products has been incorporated into Bayraktar UAVs deployed in the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Garmin product used in these drones is a commercial, non-military product that is widely and legally available for purchase on the open market. It is not designed or intended for military use, and it is not even designed or intended for use in drones. We have investigated how our products ended up in these drones, and we can confirm that we do not sell any products directly to Baykar. Further, we are contacting our independent dealers to instruct them to cease selling Garmin products to Baykar and to any other persons or companies they have reason to suspect are engaged in nefarious activities. We want to thank all those who brought this to our attention.”