We need to force the government to end all arms deals with Turkey, not just some

A Turkish airstrike hit a civilian convoy traveling between the northern Syrian towns of Qamishli and Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain)
Tom Anderson

On Tuesday 15 October, the British government suspended new arms sales to Turkey over its invasion of northern Syria.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced that no more export licences would be granted “for items that might be used in military operations in Syria” until a review takes place.

But Raab’s announcement made no mention of the UK-based companies who have already been approved licences. These existing licences mean that UK-based companies can continue exporting military equipment for use by Turkey in its invasion.

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Brutal Turkish invasion

The Turkish invasion, which began on 9 October, is intended to crush the revolutionary movement in Rojava. Rojava’s revolution is based on women’s freedom, direct democracy, and a collective ecological society.

At least 78 civilians have been killed by Turkey and its jihadist proxy forces since last week, and 70,000 children have been made homeless.

This video by Rojava Information Centre, made before the invasion, analyses Turkey’s objectives:

Government announcement ‘does not go nearly far enough’

The Canary asked Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to comment on Raab’s announcement. Smith said:

Despite the tough rhetoric, this announcement does not go nearly far enough. It only applies to future sales, so will not affect the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of weapons that have already been licensed to Turkish forces over recent years. Those weapons can still be exported to Turkey, and can still be used.
These arms sales should never have been allowed in the first place, which is why, to be more meaningful, this must mark a change in policy. Things cannot simply go back to ‘business as usual’ once the war is out of the headlines. UK companies should not be profiteering from the crackdown in Turkey or the appalling repression of Kurdish people.
‘We need to keep the pressure on’
The Canary asked Berivan Qereçox, a British internationalist currently in Rojava, what she thought of the announcement. She told us:

When the British government announced that they were suspending future arms licences to Turkey… this was in response to the huge amount of public pressure. It was a success for the actions that have been taken. And it was, if nothing else, a small diplomatic nod in the direction of acknowledging that [the government] is now in a position where [it] can’t pretend that what’s going on isn’t completely unacceptable.

But obviously it’s laughably, pathetically, too little, too late. It’s completely inadequate…Turkey isn’t currently in the position of going to Europe to ask for weapons, warplanes, tanks, heavy artillery. It’s already here. It’s already happening…The hospitals are overcrowded, people have died and people are dying right now only a few miles from where I’m [speaking].

So what we cannot do is accept this response as in some way adequate. We need to keep the pressure on.

[The campaigning that] we’re doing works, if this much action is taken they have to listen, they cannot continue to ignore it.

But what has happened so far is not the end of the story, and we need to keep that pressure up. In fact we need to take it up another step and insist that they take steps that actually make a difference.

They could [suspend] the licences that have already been granted to export arms to Turkey. And they can also take much greater diplomatic action, or put pressure on international institutions to take action against the invasion.

‘They will sit up and listen’

Berivan continued:

[The arms trade] is something that the richer western European countries tend to participate in very heavily whilst failing to take any responsibility for the wars that those weapons are used in.

When we organise around those issues we’re showing that culpability and we’re putting the blame where it should be.

[One] reason why there’s a meaningful and long tradition of resistance [against the arms trade] is that we’re hitting them right where it hurts, which is in the profit. If we can find some way to stop the military industrial complex, even just for a moment, they will start to lose money, and then they will sit up and listen.

We need to take action

We need to take action to force the British government to suspend all existing arms export licences to Turkey. More than that, we need to stand with the people of northern Syria who are calling for a boycott of Turkey and an internationally imposed ‘no-fly zone’ to stop Turkey’s massacre. As many of those opposing the invasion have been repeating: “The people of Rojava can hear us, stay on the streets!”

Featured image via ANF Firat (used with permission)

Tom Anderson is part of the Shoal Collective, a cooperative producing writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism. Twitter: @shoalcollective

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UK based arms companies making a killing

Riseup4Rojava and Boycott Turkey are calling on people globally to take action against the companies supplying arms to Turkey.

So who are these UK companies profiteering from the invasion? The Canary has been told by CAAT that the government has not released information on which companies currently hold existing export licences. But research received by The Canary based on information received by CAAT through FOI identifies 128 UK-based companies that were granted arms export licences in 2015, the last year for which figures have been obtainable. Those companies were:

A & M DEFENCE & MARINE SERVICES LIMITED
A. E. PETSCHE UK LIMITED
AERO TEC LABORATORIES LIMITED
AEROSPACE LOGISTICS LIMITED
AGUSTAWESTLAND LIMITED
AIRBORNE SYSTEMS LIMITED
AIRCRAFT RESEARCH ASSOCIATION LIMITED
ALCOA MANUFACTURING (G.B.) LIMITED
AMETEK AIRTECHNOLOGY GROUP LIMITED
AMPHENOL INVOTEC LIMITED
AMSAFE BRIDPORT LIMITED
ANTENNA DYNAMICS LTD
ASTUTE ELECTRONICS LIMITED
ATLANTIC INERTIAL SYSTEMS LIMITED
AUTONOMOUS SURFACE VEHICLES LIMITED
BAE SYSTEMS (OPERATIONS) LIMITED
BAE SYSTEMS INTEGRATED SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED
BARTINGTON INSTRUMENTS LIMITED
BIOQUELL UK LIMITED
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIES LIMITED
C.E.NIEHOFF & CO. LIMITED
CARGOTEC UK LIMITED
CATERPILLAR SHREWSBURY LIMITED
CENTRAL MANAGEMENT CATALOGUE AGENCY (UK) LIMITED
CHELTON LIMITED
CHEMRING COUNTERMEASURES LIMITED
CHEMRING EOD LIMITED
COBHAM DEFENCE COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED
COM DEV EUROPE LIMITED
CONJAY COLLECTORS AMMUNITION COMPANY LTD
CONSOLITE TECHNOLOGY LIMITED
COOK DEFENCE SYSTEMS LIMITED
CQC LIMITED
CROSS MANUFACTURING COMPANY (1938) LIMITED
CUBIC RANGE DESIGN SOLUTIONS LTD
CUMMINS LTD
DACO SCIENTIFIC LIMITED
DEBEN GROUP INDUSTRIES LIMITED
EATON LIMITED
EDO MBM TECHNOLOGY LIMITED
ELEY LIMITED
EMCEL FILTERS LIMITED
ENERSYS LTD
ESL DEFENCE LIMITED
EUROPEAN ANTENNAS LIMITED
EXCEPTION PCB SOLUTIONS LIMITED
EX-ELTRONICS (UK) LIMITED
FARADAY PRINTED CIRCUITS LIMITED
FEL AVIONICS LIMITED
FLIGHT REFUELLING LIMITED
GAVIN GARDINER LIMITED
GE AVIATION SYSTEMS LIMITED
GILL SENSORS & CONTROLS LIMITED
GLENAIR UK LTD
GOLDRING INDUSTRIES LIMITED
GOOCH & HOUSEGO (UK) LIMITED
GSI GROUP LIMITED
HEMISPHERE FREIGHT SERVICES LIMITED
HONEYWELL UK LIMITED
HORSTMAN DEFENCE SYSTEMS LIMITED
HP ENTERPRISE SERVICES DEFENCE & SECURITY UK LTD
HYDROBOND ENGINEERING LIMITED
HYMATIC ENGINEERING COMPANY, LIMITED (THE)
INSTRO PRECISION LIMITED
IPECO HOLDINGS LIMITED
J. & D. WILKIE LIMITED
KAREEM SERVICES LIMITED
KELVIN HUGHES LIMITED
KUGEL MOTION LIMITED
LEE PRODUCTS LIMITED
LOCKHEED MARTIN UK LIMITED
MACTAGGART, SCOTT & COMPANY LIMITED
MANROY ENGINEERING LIMITED
MEGGITT (UK) LIMITED
MERLIN EQUIPMENT LIMITED
MESL MICROWAVE LIMITED
MIL POWER LIMITED
MOOG FERNAU LIMITED
MOOG WOLVERHAMPTON LIMITED
MORGAN TECHNICAL CERAMICS LIMITED
MSI-DEFENCE SYSTEMS LTD
MTL ADVANCED LTD
MTL GROUP LIMITED
NEW CHAPEL ELECTRONICS LIMITED
NICKWAKE LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP
NORTHROP GRUMMAN SPERRY MARINE B.V.
NP AEROSPACE LIMITED
PARAMOUNT PANELS UK
PARK AIR SYSTEMS LIMITED
PARKER HANNIFIN LIMITED
PEGASUS SAVUNMA UK LIMITED
PHOTONIC SCIENCE LIMITED
POLARIS VISION SYSTEMS EU LIMITED
PRESTOLITE ELECTRIC LIMITED
PRP OPTOELECTRONICS LIMITED
QINETIQ LIMITED
QIOPTIQ LIMITED
RACAL ACOUSTICS LIMITED
RENISHAW PLC
ROTORK CONTROLS LIMITED
RTI INTERNATIONAL METALS LIMITED
SABRE COMPUTERS INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
SCHLEIFRING SYSTEMS LIMITED
SCOTT HEALTH & SAFETY LIMITED
SELEX ES LTD
SENIOR UK LIMITED
SESANTI LIMITED
SKF (UK) LIMITED
SPANOPTIC LIMITED
SPORTING SERVICES
SWIFT SHIPBROKERS LIMITED
TELEDYNE LABTECH LIMITED
TELEDYNE LIMITED
TEN CATE ADVANCED ARMOUR UK LIMITED
THALES UK LIMITED
THERMACORE EUROPE LIMITED
THOMPSON VALVES LIMITED
TMD TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED
TRELLEBORG INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS UK LTD
TRIUMPH ACTUATION SYSTEMS – UK LTD
TRL TECHNOLOGY LIMITED
TURNER AVIATION LIMITED
TYCO ELECTRONICS UK LTD
ULTRA ELECTRONICS LIMITED
UMICORE COATING SERVICES LIMITED
UTM LIMITED
W.L. GORE AND ASSOCIATES (U.K.) LIMITED

A full list of the 2015 licences is available on the CAAT website.

A map compiled earlier this year by Shoal Collective shows the locations of UK arms manufacturers arming Turkey:

Who's arming Turkey

Who's arming Turkey page 2

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