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German arms exports to Turkey highest since 2005: report

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Germany sent €250.4 million ($277 million) worth of weapons to Turkey in the first eight months of 2019, Deutsche Welle English service reported, citing German press agency dpa and adding that the figure is already higher than any annual amount since 2005, even excluding the last four months of the year.

The data seen by dpa was released by the German Economy Ministry at the request of the opposition Left party.

Weapons exports to Ankara have been thrown into the spotlight since Turkish forces invaded northern Syria last week.

The European Union on Monday passed a resolution to limit arms sales to Turkey but stopped short of imposing a weapons embargo. Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged the NATO ally to end its operation and said Germany will not deliver any more weapons to Turkey “under the current conditions.”

Last year, Turkey was the number one importer of German weapons by far, with contracts amounting to €242.8 million. Despite a halt in some deliveries, it is on track to claim that title again in 2019.

According to the Economy Ministry, the weapons sales were “exclusively merchandise for the maritime sector,” with most of the orders likely relating to material for six Type 214 submarines being built in cooperation with the German firm Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.

The German government approved the sale of parts for the submarines in 2009.

For the first time in three years, there has also been an increase in the number of new export permits issued by Berlin for Turkey. By Oct. 9, the government had approved shipments valued at €28.5 million — already more than double the €12.9 million cleared over the course of 2018.

There was also a significant jump in individual permits from 58 in 2018 to 182 in the first nine months of 2019.

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