On 9 October, launched a violent invasion of largely-Kurdish areas in northern Syria (aka Rojava). Now, several European countries have stepped up and stopped arms sales to Turkey. The UK government, meanwhile, continues to profit. Arms sales are ongoing and it’s fully complicit in murder as a result.
Stop the arms trade!
On 12 October, Germany announced it was the latest country to cease arms sales to Turkey:
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) October 12, 2019
Whilst this is good news, it doesn’t detract from the fact that it previously exported “nearly one third” of its arms sales to
Germany joins the list of countries stopping (suspending) arms sales to Turkey.
"Exports to Turkey in 2018 amount to €242,8M, nearly one third of all the German military arms exports.
In the first 4 month's of 2019 Ankara received arms worth €181M from Germany."
— Jhilwan Qazzaz (@JhilwanQazzaz) October 12, 2019
But it does reflect a rising trend of EU countries halting arms deals in light of the current invasion. Finland stopped these on 9 October and Norway followed the next day:
NEW — Norway, a NATO ally, suspends all arms exports to Turkey over the Syria incursion.
Finland did the same yesterday
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) October 10, 2019
— GorseFires (@GorseFires) October 12, 2019
In fact, the list of countries is rising:
List of countries that sanctioned Turkey over its Syria incursion:
—NATO allies that ended arms exports
• The Netherlands🇳🇱
• Norway 🇳🇴
• Germany 🇩🇪
—Non-NATO that suspended arms exports
• Finland 🇫🇮
—Others pushing for EU-wide ban
• Sweden 🇸🇪
• France 🇫🇷
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) October 12, 2019
Remarkable. Several EU states are suspending weapons exports to Turkey.
• Finland https://t.co/tBAC5ZgL5f
— Hetav Rojan (@HetavRojan) October 12, 2019
And there’s now also speculation that the EU may impose a full arms embargo on Turkey. As Bloomberg reported, this:
would send a strong signal to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and drag Ankara’s relations with its NATO allies to a new low. The officials said the decision could be made over a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Oct. 17-18.
Breaking: EU may hit Turkey with blanket arms embargo. Sweden to table proposal at EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday, decision may be taken by EU leaders on Oct. 17-18. Germany already announced halt in arms shipments to Turkey. More on @TheTerminal
— Nikos Chrysoloras (@nchrysoloras) October 12, 2019
If this does go ahead, it may well face opposition from the UK. Because as a press release from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) noted:
Despite its authoritarian domestic policy, and increasingly aggressive foreign policy, the Erodgan regime in Turkey is among the world’s largest recipients of UK weapons.
“The UK Government must condemn the invasion”
The US has been allied with Kurdish forces, who led the campaign against ISIL in the region, but Turkey classifies the Kurdish YPG as terrorists. Turkish forces invaded Afrin in 2018, in operations that saw them accused of “indiscriminately shelling civilians” by Amnesty International.
As CAAT’s Andrew Smith stressed:
This war could have far-reaching and devastating consequences for Kurdish people and the wider region. Since coming to power, President Erdogan has shown a total disregard for human rights, both in terms of his authoritarian domestic policies and his continued aggression on the world stage.
It also noted that since £1.1bn worth of arms to Turkey. These include drones, tanks, and missiles. came to power in 2014, the UK has licensed
So far, the UK government’s response to this ongoing crisis seems weak. On 9 October, foreign secretary Dominic Raab called the invasion an “incursion” and expressed “concern”. Since then, he’s reportedly said:
Our position is crystal clear. This incursion is wrong. We want to see maximum restraint, and avoid taking our eye off the ball with Daesh (IS). My fear is that the risk is that the humanitarian situation … could be made worse.
But there’s been absolutely no mention of halting the UK’s profitable arms sales with Turkey.
Yet, as Smith also emphasised:
The UK Government must condemn the invasion and act to ensure that UK-made weapons are not contributing to the violence. It must take action by immediately stopping the arms sales and ending its political and military support for Turkish forces.
Turkish forces are currently murdering children in Rojava. And our government is complicit in these deaths.
Featured image via The Canary
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