Turkey senior diplomat 'disappointed' by Canada's ongoing arms-export embargo

OTTAWA — Turkey's deputy minister of foreign affairs says Ankara still wants Canada to drop its arms embargo.

Ahmet Yildiz said in a keynote address Tuesday, during a forum organized by the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy think tank, that Canada's restrictions on exporting drones and other material to Turkey amount to sanctioning a military ally.

Yildiz said he's "disappointed" by the restrictions, arguing they curtail Turkey's efforts to secure the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, as well as to defend the interests of the NATO military alliance.

Canada halted new export permits to Turkey in October 2019 after its military incursion into Syria, and renewed the embargo in 2020 citing evidence Canadian drones sent to Turkey ended up being used by Azerbaijan.

At the NATO summit in July, media reports quoting unnamed Turkish officials claimed Canada reopened talks on the arms embargo.

The Canadian Press has not independently verified the reports, but Canada's former military envoy to Turkey has said Ottawa might lift its arms embargo if Ankara supports Sweden's bid to join NATO, and if it agrees to restrictions on where Canadian drones can be used.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press