Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. In a long-feared escalation of tensions between Russia and NATO as well as the Syrian conflict, Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane that it claims had crossed into its airspace during a sortie against rebels in Syria. Turkey has vowed to support the Syrian Turkmen and Erdogan on Tuesday criticized Russian actions in the Turkmen regions, saying there were no Islamic State group fighters in the area. (AP Photo/Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service, Pool )

The German government has refused approval for military exports to NATO partner country Turkey on a growing number of occasions. Ministers are concerned the weapons could be used to oppress the local population.

Berlin has rejected more than 10 applications for arms exports to Turkey in recent months, reports German daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ), citing a letter from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The ministry was answering questions by the left-wing MP Jan van Aken.

As a NATO partner, Turkey is rarely subject to restrictions on arms exports. But there are concerns that since last July’s coup attempt, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a far-reaching purge on political opponents.

Concern over ‘internal repression’

“The importance of observing human rights will be particularly important in respect to arms export approvals,” a ministry official reportedly said in his reply to van Aken. Since the failed coup, “the Federal government’s foreign security policy review” has given special consideration “to the risk of an intervention in the context of internal repression of the Kurdish conflict.”

According to German government figures, the federal government had rejected eleven individual arms shipments starting November 2016, compared to only eight between 2010 and 2015. The most recent refusals involved weapons, ammunitions and parts for the manufacture of certain armaments.

Likely to cause friction
“This is a first step,” van Aken told the “SZ” newspaper. “And next, we must make sure that Turkey doesn’t receive any weapons from Germany.”

The Left party MP said the Turkish government was waging war in its own country and in Syria and is becoming “increasingly dictatorial.”

German-Turkish relations are tense at present after two cities banned campaign rallies by Turkish ministers who sought to address the large Turkish community living in Germany.

On April 16, Turks will decide in a referendum on reforms to the constitution that would give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wide-reaching new powers.

In response, Erdogan accused Germany of using Nazi measures against his politicians.


  1. Turkey participation in NATO membership is becoming doubtful after having a closed military cooperation with Russia. It is understood the significant relationship of Turkey with NATO as a muslim country within the hearth of middle-east but Turkey's current political direction undermines the basic concept of the alliance.

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