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Canada suspends drone technology sales to Turkey after claims of use by Azeri forces

·1 min read

OTTAWA, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Canada has suspended the export of some drone technology to Turkey while it probes allegations the equipment was used by Azeri forces involved in fighting with Armenia, a senior official said on Monday.

Project Ploughshares, a Canadian arms control group, says video of air strikes released by Baku indicates the drones had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.

"In line with Canada's robust export control regime and due to the ongoing hostilities, I have suspended the relevant export permits to Turkey, so as to allow time to further assess the situation," said Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

The Globe and Mail said L3Harris Wescam had received permission this year to ship seven systems to Turkish drone maker Baykar. Turkey is a key ally of Azerbaijan, whose forces are fighting Armenians over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Separately, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters he had asked Champagne to travel to Europe "to discuss with our allies the developments in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh".

He did not give more details and an aide to Champagne said the exact itinerary had not yet been worked out. (Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by Richard Chang)