Government urged not to supply arms for any Turkish invasion of Syria

By agency reporter
October 8, 2019

There is strong speculation that Turkish forces will soon be launching long-planned military operations in Northern Syria. This follows an announcement that the US will be removing its presence from the area. The UN has said that it is “preparing for the worst.”

The US has been allied with Kurdish forces, who led the campaign against ISIL in the region, but Turkey classifies the Kurdish YPG as terrorists. Turkish forces invaded Afrin in Northern Syria in 2018, in operations that saw them accused of “indiscriminately shelling civilians” by Amnesty International.

Despite its authoritarian domestic policy, and increasingly aggressive foreign policy, the Erodgan regime in Turkey is among the world’s largest recipients of UK weapons.

Since President Erdogan came to power in August 2014, the UK has licensed £1.1 billion worth of arms to Turkey. Among other weapons, these include:

  • £206 million worth of ML10 licences (aircraft, helicopters, drones)
  • £84 million worth of ML6 licences (armoured vehicles, tanks)
  • £82 million worth of ML4 licences (grenades bombs, missiles, countermeasures)

Last month the Turkish military was among those invited by the UK Government to London for Defence and Security Equipment International 2019, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs.

In January 2017, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, agreed a £100 million fighter jet deal with Turkey.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “An invasion of Northern Syria could have devastating consequences. By arming the Turkish military, the UK Government is making itself complicit in how those weapons are used. The UK must stop aiding Turkey's human rights abuses with arms sales and political support.”

* Campaign Against Arms Trade https://www.caat.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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