Germany halted majority of arms sales to Turkey

Germany has stopped most of arms sales to Turkey, a major buyer of German weapons, after the Left Party requested Ministry of Economy to halt exports, and export licenses to be only granted in a few individual cases, Turkish newspaper Sözcü reported late Sunday. 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met his German counterpart in Berlin last week. New arms deals, modernisation programmes, cooperation in a heavy weapons industry were in the top discussions list of Erdoğan,  according to Sözcü. 

Last year, the German government approved the export of military equipment worth €4.4 million, but the shipping was limited to €916 thousand since January 20, after Turkey's offensive against Kurdish militia in northern Syria's Afrin district, German media said, citing a response from the Foreign Ministry to a question by the Left party.

For the NATO partner Turkey, five licences were granted with a value of 418,279 euros. By comparison, in the significantly shorter period between Jan. 1 and March 13, 2018, 34 export licenses for Turkey worth 9.7 million euros had been issued. Last year, it was 138, and worth 34.2 million euros. In 2016, the arms sales to Turkey amounted to 83.9 million euros.

Germany aims to minimise the use of German Leopard tanks in Syria by Turkey as limiting the exports of replacement parts of the tanks to Turkey, Sözcü wrote. 

During the Afrin offensive, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the Turkish military operation to the Syrian enclave "unacceptable." But that has not stopped her government from selling arms to Turkey, German public media reported.

Besides Turkey, Germany also banned arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as Germany fears they are being used to carry out human rights abuses, the Independent said on April 2018.