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Scottish government awarded almost £15m to arms companies that sell weapons to Turkey

THE Scottish government has awarded nearly £15 million to arms factories run by companies that sell weapons to Turkey.

It comes as Turkish forces are accused of committing war crimes against Kurdish civilians in their invasion of northern Syria.

Details of the financial links between Holyrood and the Turkish military emerged in a report by The Ferret, an investigative journalism website.

Their reporter Billy Briggs filed a freedom of information request with Scottish Enterprise, Holyrood’s economic development agency.

Officials responded with a money trail stretching back to 2007, revealing nearly £15m in handouts for arms factories in Scotland.

The vast majority, £13.8m, went to Leonardo MW, who employ almost 2,000 workers in Edinburgh.

BAE Systems came second, pocketing £616,748, and US arms giant Lockheed Martin took third place with £176,615 in grants for projects including “business improvement.”

All three firms are involved in manufacturing parts for F16s, a model of fighter jet the Turkish Air Force uses to attack Kurds.

Responding to The Ferret’s findings, a Scottish government spokesperson said: “The support provided is focused on helping firms to diversify and develop non-military applications for their technology and ensure Scotland continues to benefit from the thousands of jobs in the defence, aerospace and shipbuilding sectors.”

However Andrew Smith from Campaign Against Arms Trade demanded that Holyrood adopt an “ethical business policy.”

Mr Smith said: “The Scottish government should not be giving public money to companies that have armed human rights abusing regimes and dictatorships while fuelling war around the world.

“Companies like Leonardo, BAE and Raytheon don’t care about how their weapons are used, or the people they are used against. 

“All they care about is selling as many weapons as possible and boosting their profits. 

“The Scottish government does not have the power to regulate where arms are sold, but it can end its financial support for the companies that are selling them.

“It’s long past time for Scottish Enterprise to set a positive precedent by adopting an ethical business policy and ending its support for those that profit from war and conflict.”

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