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.
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.