Turkey calls on Canada to review defense industry restrictions

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged NATO ally Canada on Monday to review defense industry restrictions which it imposed on Ankara last year, Reuters reports.

Canada suspended exports of some drone technology to Turkey last October while it probed allegations that the equipment was being used by Azerbaijani forces involved in fighting with Armenia.

Turkey’s foreign ministry at the time described it as a double standard and President Tayyip Erdogan said it was not in line with the spirit of their alliance..

Cavusoglu’s ministry said he raised the restrictions issue with Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau in talks.

“He conveyed concerns about Canada’s stance on defense industry restrictions imposed on Turkey and requested their review,” the foreign ministry said.

The parts under embargo include camera systems for Baykar armed drones. Export licenses were suspended in 2019 during Turkish military activities in Syria. Restrictions were then eased, but reimposed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Canadian arms control group Project Ploughshares said air strike video released by Baku at the time indicated drones were equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.

Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan jumped six-fold last year. Sales of drones and other military equipment rose to $77 million in September alone before fighting broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh, data showed.

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