Turkey’s Syria operations urge Germany to limit weapons sales

GERMANY CONSIDERS the usage of arms it sells to Turkey on how they are used on Kurdish groups in Syria and how the latter utilizes them in the region, hence it only allows “limited sales.”

This was reported by Deutsche Welle after the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, answered a question directed to the government by the Left Party on selling weapons to Turkey.

The opposition party asked whether Turkey’s military operations in Syria affected the German government’s approval of weapon exports to the country.

The German ministry answered that in recent years there have been limitations, and further explained their reasons when responding to Ankara’s demands of buying German weapons.

“More importantly, since the July 15 coup attempt, the demands for weapons sales have been examined in more detail,” said the ministry in a written reply.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has often repeated its call to Turkey to avoid cross-border operations in northern Syria where Ankara deploys the army and supports rebellion groups as part of its war against Kurdish militias.

“We urged Turkish officials many times to act responsibly in Syria,” the ministry said.

Turkey’s known targeting of the People Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish group leading Syrian Democratic Forces was also mentioned in the statement. The ministry said the German government has critically brought the issue to the attention of the Turkish government.

The Left party also asked if German weapons have been used by Turkey during their operations against YPG? The answer from the German ministry was of no knowledge of such.

Germany approved the selling of approximately 83 million-Euro-worth Defence industry products to Turkey in 2016, while this amount reduced to 34 million Euros in 2017.

Germany’s weapon export to Turkey was limited to 10,1 million Euros in the first half of 2018. Before 2016, Turkey was among the major customers of German weapons.

The deterioration of human rights in Turkey, the coup attempt during which 250 people were killed and footages showing Turkish military deployed German Leopard tanks when attacking Afrin, a northern Syrian Kurdish city, led opposition parties and human rights activists to put more pressure on the German government to cease selling weapons to Turkey.

In its defence, Ankara quotes the spirit of the NATO alliance as it calls on Germany not to limit weapon sales, according to diplomatic sources.

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