Arms sales to Turkey being used against the Kurds


A protest was held in Glasgow on 12th October on Buchanan Street steps as part of a global day of action called by the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) against Turkish occupation and ethnic cleansing of Kurds in North-East Syria. (Photo courtesy of Glasgow University Kurdish Solidarity Society)

The UK government continues to say the UK ‘has one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes in the world’. The falsity of this is evident once more in relation to the horrific situation the Kurds – who fought against ISIS and have now been sold out by their ‘allies’ and are now facing the military might of the Turkish military supplied with arms by the UK amongst other arms dealing countries.

We need to stop the arms trade to Turkey.

The UK has licensed £1.1 billion worth of arms sales to Turkey since August 2014 and Turkey is among the world’s largest recipients of UK weapons. While Italy, France and Germany  have suspended weapons and ammunition sales to Turkey, the UK has stopped short of this. Although the UK will not grant new export licences for weapons that might be used in military operations against Kurds in Syria, the UK will continue selling arms to Turkey. Arms manufacturers will still be able to sell to the nation under existing licences, and the UK may still grant new licences for exports that Turkey claim will not be used in the northern Syrian strikes.

Andrew Smith from Campaign Against Arms Trade, said “the truth is that the UK government should never have been arming and supporting President Erdogan and his authoritarian regime in the first place.”

There must be an end to all arms sales and all military support for the Turkish regime. Among other weapons, the arms sales to Turkey 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 & Security Equipment International 2019, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs” (Campaign Against Arms Trade)


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