After the US sanctions over its S-400 deal with Russia, Turkey faces an arms embargo from Canada following an investigation that revealed Canadian drones were diverted to Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict last year.
Ottawa’s move has been termed as “double standards” by Ankara.
The decision to cancel export permits for military goods and technologies To Turkey was taken on April 12.
“This use [of drone technology] was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey,” said Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau.
The announcement came later in the day after a phone call between Garneau and his Turkic counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in which the latter had expressed displeasure about the arms embargo.
Earlier, Canada had suspended export licenses in October 2019 after Turkey got involved in the Syrian crisis. While limitation had been eased in spring last year, permits for advanced drone optics and defense equipment were then suspended in October when allegations arose of the use of Canadian defense technology during the Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict.
Canadian media outlet CBC reported that Armenian officials had in October last year displayed the wreckage of a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drone shot down by Armenian forces over the disputed Armenian-populated region.
They further said the surveillance and attack drone was equipped with a high-tech camera and target acquisition system produced by Canadian company L3 Harris WESCAM.
The Canadian probe also found that the Canadian drone equipment had been shared with Libya’s interim government by Turkey in violation of a UN arms embargo.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has been projecting itself as the leader of the Islamic world. It had extended full diplomatic and arms support to Azerbaijan during its campaign to take full control of disputed territories from Armenia. Turkey’s military exports to Azerbaijan had increased six times last year.
Turkey has contested this decision and stated that it “sticks to its obligations under its comprehensive export-control regime.”
“We expect our NATO allies to avoid unconstructive steps that will negatively affect our bilateral relations and undermine alliance solidarity,” Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Ankara also criticized Canada for having double standards as its arms exports to Saudi Arabia were allegedly used in the Yemen crisis.
Ankara has slowly been pivoting away from Europe and the US after the latter removed Turkey from the F-35 program for purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Russia. This could make Ankara cement its ties with Russia.