ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Canada’s suspension of the export of some drone technology was not in line with the spirit of alliance, Erdogan’s office said late on Friday.
Canada suspended the export of some drone technology to Turkey earlier this month as it probes allegations the equipment was used by Azeri forces involved in fighting with Armenia.
In a phone call on Friday, Erdogan and Trudeau discussed improving relations and increasing bilateral trade, the Turkish presidency said, adding that they also talked about overcoming issues regarding cooperation in the defence sector.
“During the call, President Tayyip Erdogan said Canada’s suspension of the export of some military goods to Turkey due to the Azerbajian-Armenia conflict… is against the spirit of alliance,” the presidency said.
Turkey and Canada are both members of NATO.
Following Canada’s announcement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry had said the suspension showed a double standard.
Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold this year, with sales of drones and other military equipment rising to $77 million last month alone before fighting broke out over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to exports data.
Canadian arms control group Project Ploughshares says video of air strikes released by Azerbaijan indicates the drones had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.
Ankara has said it stands firmly beside its close ally in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Can Sezer; Editing by Frances Kerry)