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Die Linke calls for arms embargo on Turkey

GERMANY’S Die Linke party has called for an immediate arms embargo on Turkey after five weapons deals were signed between the two countries in just four months.

Die Linke MP Stefan Liebich, a member of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, described the sale of arms to Turkey as “scandalous” and called for an immediate halt to the trade.

The deals worth €418,279 in total were agreed between March, when Chancellor Angela Merkel returned to power as part of a coalition government, and the end of June, according to figures provided by the Finance Ministry after Die Linke made a written submission to the federal parliament.

Arms sales between the beginning of the year and March 14 amounted to €9.7m, with the drop being attributed partly to the state of Turkey’s economy but also to the country’s army producing its own weapons through licensing deals with the German weapons industry.

The latest deals coincide with Berlin lifting an unofficial arms embargo imposed on Turkey following the release of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in February.

Mr Yucel had been held in Turkey’s notorious Silivri prison and was detained for a year without charges after being accused of supporting terrorist organisations.

The Die Welt reporter opposed any “dirty deals” being struck regarding weapons sales to secure his release, saying: “I don't want my freedom to be tainted with an arms deal.”

In January, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s brutal regime launched an illegal invasion and occupation of the peaceful northern Syrian city of Afrin.

Operation Olive Branch has been branded illegal, but imperialist powers have defended the action by Nato’s second-largest army, on the grounds of Turkey’s right to “secure its borders.”

Germany supplies Turkey with the £4 million Leopard 2 tanks that were used by its army in the Afrin offensive. 

Despite German parliamentarians questioning the legality of Ankara’s military operation in northern Syria, a deal was struck regarding the upgrade of the tank’s capabilities.

Turkey’s future in Syria came under further threat yesterday as the Damascus government stepped up its operation to retake control of Idlib province, currently under the control of Mr Erdogan’s forces.

Ankara has opposed any campaign targeting jihadist fighters operating in the area and fears that it will also be forced out of Afrin.

Appeals to Russia appear to have failed, with President Vladimir Putin reported to favour Idlib returning to government control.

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