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Erdogan Slams Canada's Suspension of Drone Tech Sales to Turkey as Violation of Spirit of Alliance

© AP Photo / DHA A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone is seen shortly after its landing at an airport in Gecitkala, known as Lefkoniko in Greek, in Cyprus, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019
A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone is seen shortly after its landing at an airport in Gecitkala, known as Lefkoniko in Greek, in Cyprus, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Ottawa earlier suspended the export of drone-related equipment to Turkey over reports that some of it might have been used in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned Canada's decision to stop the export of drone technologies to the country in a recent conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, suggesting that it goes against the nature of the NATO alliance, the president's office has stated.

"During the call, President Tayyip Erdogan said Canada's suspension of the export of some military goods to Turkey due to the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict [...] is against the spirit of the alliance", Erdogan's office said.

Aside from discussing issues of defence industry cooperation, the heads of the two states also touched upon bilateral relations and trade, the presidential office added.

Alleged Turkish Drones in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

The spat between Ankara and Ottawa over the suspension of the sale of drone-related technologies started after Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced the move on 5 October. The order came in light of a report by the Canadian arms control group Project Ploughshares, which claimed that videos of aerial strikes in Karabakh distributed by the Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan suggests the use of the imaging and targeting systems produced by a subsidiary of Canadian firm L3Harris Technologies.

Armenian PM Pahinyan during exclusive interview with Sputnik - Sputnik International
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This report coincided with statements by the Armenian military, who claimed that Turkish military equipment, including F-16 jets and Bayraktar TB2 drones, are being used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Baku denies Ankara's involvement in the skirmishes, which erupted on 27 September in the disputed region. However, pre-conflict export records show that Turkey sold at least $77 million worth of military equipment to Azerbaijan in 2020 alone.

Turkey criticised Canada's decision to suspend drone tech exports and called on the country to avoid resorting to a "policy of double standards" dictated by the "influence of anti-Turkish groups". Ankara insisted that it "rigorously" implements its obligations in terms of the export control regime. 

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