Germany to curb arms sales to Turkey over Syria operation

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Smoke billows from the town of Ras al-Ain as Turkey continues the assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria | Nazeer Al-Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

Minister says Berlin won’t issue export permits for weapons that could be used in offensive.

Germany will not export any more weapons to Turkey that could be used in the country’s military operation in Syria, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

“Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the federal government will not issue any new permits for all armaments that could be used by Turkey in Syria,” Maas told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

European governments and the European Union as a whole have condemned Turkey’s military offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces since it began on Wednesday.

Maas told Bild am Sonntag that the German government has been taking a very restrictive line on arms exports to Turkey since 2016, and particularly after a Turkish military operation in the northern Syrian region of Afrin last year.

Last year, German armaments deliveries to Turkey amounted to €242.8 million — almost a third of all the country’s exports of weapons of war, according to the newspaper.

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