ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Erdogan’s office said late on Friday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Canada’s suspension of some drone technology exports was not in line with the spirit of the alliance.
Canada stopped exporting some drone technology to Turkey earlier this month as it is investigating allegations that Azerbaijani forces participating in the fighting with Armenia have used the equipment.
The Turkish presidency said that Erdogan and Trudeau discussed in a phone call on Friday improving relations and increasing bilateral trade, adding that they also talked about overcoming issues related to cooperation in the defense sector.
“During the call, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Canada’s suspension of exporting some military goods to Turkey due to the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict … contradicts the spirit of the alliance,” the presidency said.
Turkey and Canada are both members of NATO.
After Canada’s announcement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the suspension showed double standards.
Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have increased sixfold this year, as sales of drones and other military equipment rose to $ 77 million last month alone before fighting broke out around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to export data.
Project Plowshares, a Canadian arms control group, says an airstrike video released by Azerbaijan indicates that the drones were equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canadian unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.
Ankara has said it stands firmly with its close ally in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
(Prepared by Ali Kukukjukman and Kan Caesar; edited by Francis Kerry)