Canada announced late Monday it had dropped weapons export controls to Türkiye, including drone optical technology, according to a notice posted online, saying that from now on, it would review all exports on a case-by-case basis.
Canada suspended drone technology sales to Türkiye in 2020 after concluding its optical equipment attached to Turkish-made drones had been used by Azerbaijan while fighting ethnic Armenian forces in Karabakh, an enclave Baku has since retaken.
The announcement by Global Affairs, the country’s foreign ministry, confirms reports from last week.
Under the agreement to restart exports, Türkiye will indicate whether the items will be re-exported or transferred to a non-NATO country, except Ukraine and in what form the item will be re-exported, the statement said.
Canada will examine each export on a case-by-case basis and said it can cancel permits at any time if there is misuse, the statement said.
The notification process, which is standard under the international arms trade, covers Wescam sensors used in Türkiye’s famed Bayraktar TB2 drones and other dual-use goods and arms-related exports.
The resumption of exports came shortly after Türkiye approved Sweden’s NATO membership bid last week.
An agreement was reached in early January after months of talks between Türkiye and Canada, said one person familiar with the process. A second person familiar with the plan said the sides agreed it would take effect after Sweden’s ratification was complete.
Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod told Reuters last week that while the export controls remain in place, Ottawa aimed to resolve the issue with Türkiye given its status as a NATO ally.
“Canada and Turkey continue to engage in frank exchanges on our bilateral, economic and commercial relations,” she said.
Sweden’s lengthy bid process frustrated some NATO members over what they viewed as Türkiye’s transactional approach, which led to concessions from Stockholm and other allies regarding arms exports and counterterrorism measures.
While Ankara has called on Canada to lift the restrictions, it has also said that it was now capable of manufacturing the drone parts it imports, including optical equipment, on its own. More than 30 countries, including Ukraine, Poland, Ethiopia and Pakistan, have bought Turkish drones after their battlefield successes.