Jan 20 2018

Germany close to approving Turkish tank upgrades - report

Germany is closer to approving upgrades of Turkey’s Leopard battle tanks by as part of normalising ties with Ankara, Reuters reporting citing Der Spiegel.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel instructed his office to put Turkey’s request for the tank upgrades on the agenda and “to look favourably” at it, Spiegel said. The request followed a meeting between Gabriel and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Germany earlier this month

The thaw in ties would follow the release of a number of Germans jailed in Turkey. The German foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the potential arms sales to Turkey, Reuters said.

Turkey wants to add gear to reinforce the tanks’ amour and is also requesting a sensor system that protects them against anti-tank projectiles.

The likely approval of the tank upgrades was viewed by diplomats as “a concession towards solving the crisis with Turkey and a step towards securing the release of the Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel,” Der Spiegel said

Turkey has accused Yucel of spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). He denies the charge.