Germany bans arms exports to Turkey as it reacts to assault on Kurdish YPG militia in Syria

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Turkish military vehicles carrying tanks head to the Syrian border as farmers work in a cotton field on October 12, 2019 in Akcakale, Turkey. Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Turkish military vehicles carrying tanks head to the Syrian border as farmers work in a cotton field on October 12, 2019 in Akcakale, Turkey. Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images

Germany has banned arms exports to Turkey as a reaction to the country’s assault on the Kurdish YPG militia in northeast Syria, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Saturday.

Turkey launched the military operation on Wednesday days after U.S. troops pulled back from the area, with air strikes and artillery hitting YPG militia positions near the border.

Turkey’s actions have drawn widespread international criticism and warnings from the United States and European Union of possible sanctions.

READ MORE: Turkey steps up air strikes amid warning of catastrophe

“Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive… , the Federal Government will not issue any new permits for all military equipment that could be used by Turkey in Syria”, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, according to the spokeswoman.

The comment confirmed a report in weekly Bild Am Sonntag.

Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Friday that Germany expected all NATO partners – which include Turkey – to contribute to stabilising the region.

Germany exported arms worth €243m to Turkey in 2018, accounting for almost one third of its weapons exports, according to Bild Am Sonntag.

In the first four months of 2019, Turkey received weapons from Germany worth 184 million euros, making it the biggest recipient country, the paper said.

Reuters


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