German party wants to ban arms export to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE

Germany is looking at a bill that would ban weapons from being sold to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey for their involvement in wars in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
author_image Nadia Riva

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Germany is looking at a bill that would ban weapons from being sold to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey for their involvement in wars in Syria and Yemen.

The bill, introduced by the social-democratic opposition party Die Linke, aims to ban the sale of “weapons and all other related goods and services” to countries that may use them to commit human rights violations.

Early this year, Berlin approved one of the largest arms exports – worth $30.9 billion – to countries in conflict areas, including Turkey, whose relations with Germany are tense.

The draft bill mostly targets Saudi Arabia and the UAE, waging a proxy war in Yemen. It also singles out Turkey for its military mission in northern Syria, where Ankara led an incursion into the Kurdish canton of Afrin on the pretext of chasing out “terrorist threats” to its border.

The German government has already come under fire this year for selling German-made tanks to Turkey, which were deployed in Syria in the Ankara-led “Operation Olive Branch” against the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northwestern Syria. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging a decades-long fight in Turkey’s southeastern region for greater Kurdish rights.

Should the law pass, it would retroactively cancel out previously-approved deals and would prevent future sales of arms to the countries outlined in the bill. The German government has already announced it would stop exporting weapons to countries involved in the Yemen conflict.

The opposition in Berlin has argued that all weapons shipment to Turkey should be halted, while Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel have been working to mend ties with its NATO ally.

The governments of Germany, Netherlands, and Austria last week also announced they would not want to see Turkish parties hold election campaigns on their soil targeting Turks of dual citizenship as the country is set to hold snap elections in June.