Canada and Turkiye have reached a deal to restart Canadian exports of drone parts in exchange for more transparency on where they are used, and it would take effect after Ankara completes its ratification of Sweden’s NATO bid, two sources told Reuters.
After 20 months of delay, Turkiye moved swiftly this week to endorse Sweden’s membership in the western military alliance, including a parliamentary vote and presidential sign-off, leaving Hungary as the sole ally yet to ratify it.
Turkiye is expected to send the final documents to Washington as soon as Friday, which would clear the way for Canada to immediately lift the export controls that it adopted in 2020, the two sources said, requesting anonymity.
The agreement was reached in early January after months of talks, 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.
Turkiye’s foreign ministry declined to comment.
Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod told Reuters that while the export controls currently remained in place, Ottawa aimed to resolve the issue with Turkiye 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 Turkiye’s transactional approach, which led to concessions from Stockholm and other allies regarding arms exports and counterterrorism measures.
U.S. leaders have said Turkiye’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership clears the way for Ankara’s long-sought purchase of U.S. F-16 fighter jets.
Canada suspended drone technology sales to Turkiye in 2020 after concluding its optical equipment attached to Turkish-made drones had been used by Azerbaijan while fighting ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno Karabakh, an enclave Baku has since retaken.
Ottawa halted talks on lifting them in 2022 when Ankara raised objections to both Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids. But it re-started talks after a NATO leaders summit in July last year, Reuters reported at the time.
(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer in Istanbul; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Toby Chopra)