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German parliament rejects opposition motions for arms embargo on Turkey

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Motions submitted by Germany’s opposition parties to impose an arms embargo on Turkey have been rejected by the federal parliament, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Friday.

Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag, refused to give a green light to two motions, submitted separately by opposition parties the Left (LINKE) and Alliance 90/The Greens (GRÜNE), for the imposition of an arms embargo on Turkey due to its poor human rights record as well as its east Mediterranean, Montenegro, Libya and Syria policies, according to the report.

The motion, titled “No weapons to Turkey,” drafted by LINKE, was declined by the deputies of the parties that form the coalition government, namely the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) as well as the Free Democratic Party (FDP), while deputies from GRÜNE and the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) abstained, the report said.

The other motion, titled “Cancel the permits to sell submarines to Turkey,” drafted by GRÜNE, was likewise rejected by the votes of CDU/CSU, SPD and FDP deputies against the votes in favor of GRÜNE and LINKE and abstentions by AfD deputies.

Military export permits issued by the federal government have allowed German weapons manufacturers to sell equipment and parts worth 12.8 million euros to Turkey, which used them to build a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), LINKE said in its motion.

LINKE’s motion noted that Ankara used military UAVs in its war against the Kurds in Turkey’s Southeast as well as in its operations in Iraq, northern Syria and Libya, and there are reports that Turkish military UAVs were used in Montenegro as well.

Germany’s submarine and related equipment exports to Turkey between 2002 and October 2020 amounted to 128.8 million euros, the motion noted, adding that Germany thus approved the sale of equipment that was likely to be used in Libya and operations related to Greece and Cyprus, according to the report.

GRÜNE’s motion basically sought to impose an arms embargo on Turkey although it targeted the German government’s remarks that only equipment used by naval forces has been sold to Turkey in recent years.

It was justified by developments in Turkey as well as events related to Turkey in recent years. GRÜNE deputy Katja Keul, who authored the motion, listed human rights violations, Turkey’s frequent violations of international law with its foreign policy, such as its incursion into northern Syria and involvement in the war in Libya, and threats to European Union members Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean as the reasons for the motion.

“The sale of warships and submarines undermines both our security and the interests of our EU partners, and no one can assume the responsibility of such a danger from a security policy perspective,” Keul said.

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