Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday October 12, announced a ban on arms export to Turkey over its targeted attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia — a force that has played a key role against the Islamic State group in Syria.
Maas further revealed that the German government had implemented a very restrictive route for arms exports to Ankara since 2016, especially after the Turkish military offensive against the northern Syrian region of Afrin.
“In the context of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the government will not issue any new permits for any military equipment that could be used in Syria by Turkey,” Maas told Bild.
However commenting on the ban, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu said it will only make Turkey stronger.
“Let me put it this way: This is a vital question for us and a question of national security, a question of survival,” Cavusoglu said. “No matter what anyone does, no matter whether it is an arms embargo or anything else, it only strengthens us.”
“Fifteen years ago we produced only 20% of the goods we needed, now we produce over 70% — all this only strengthens us,” he told DW.
Recall Turkey launched a military operation in Syria on Wednesday October 9, after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew some U.S. troops who have been protecting Kurdish forces in the fight against the Islamic State.
Germany exported arms worth 243 million euros ($268 million) to Turkey in 2018, accounting for almost one third of its weapons exports, according to Bild Am Sonntag. In the first four months of 2019, Turkey received weapons from Germany worth 184 million euros, making it the biggest recipient country.