No total arms export ban for Turkey despite Merkel's promise – German Defence Ministry
The German Economics Ministry on Saturday dismissed a total arms exports ban for Turkey despite Chancellor Angela Merkel last week vowing to halt weapons sales to the country amid an offensive in northeast Syria, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
Germany’s arms export ban to Turkey only applies to weapons and other military assets that could be used during Ankara's offensive in northern Syria, Deutsche Welle quoted the Economics Ministry as clarified on Saturday.
Turkey’s offensive into northeast Syria targeting Kurdish forces, which began on Oct. 9, was paused on Thursday following a U.S.-brokered temporary ceasefire deal. According to the deal, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) will withdraw in 120 hours from territories in northern Syria where Turkey wants to establish a 32-kilometre safe zone.
Merkel on Thursday had warned Germany's lower house of parliament that the Turkish offensive into Syrian territory to push out a Syrian Kurd militia was "a humanitarian drama with enormous geopolitical consequences."
The German Chancellor went on say that "under the current conditions," the German government would not provide any weapons to Turkey.
European Union countries on Monday agreed to limit arms exports to Turkey over its offensive in northern Syria, prompting condemnation from Ankara. The bloc, however, stopped short of a bloc-wide embargo against NATO ally Turkey.
The German Economics Ministry on Saturday said, "the Federal Government is not issuing new permits for armaments that could be used by Turkey in Syria."
Germany’s arms sales to Turkey totalled €242.8 million ($271 million), registering almost a third of the German defence sector's total production, according to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency.