Turkey facing informal arms embargo from Germany: Defense Minister

Turkey is facing an informal arms embargo from Germany, Turkish Defense Hulusi Akar told Sedat Ergin, a columnist for pro-government daily Hürriyet. “Unfortunately, there is a stance, embargo against Turkey which has not been [officially] named,” Akar said in an interview.

Duvar English

Although Germany is not imposing a formal arms embargo against Turkey, an “informal” one is in place, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told columnist Sedat Ergin from pro-government daily Hürriyet.

Ergin wrote in his column on Sept. 14 that he held a meeting with Akar last week, during which the minister touched upon the problems with regards to Turkey's acquisition of weapons from Germany.

Ergin reportedly asked Akar if there was any development on the German side with regards to Turkey's request for military products, to which the minister replied: “Unfortunately there is none [no progress]. When German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer came [to Turkey] at the beginning of summer, we continued to talk with her about the same issues. Unfortunately, there is a stance, embargo against Turkey which has not been [officially] named.”

Akar reportedly said that Germany's stance not only “hurts” Turkey, but also the NATO alliance.

Ergin recalled that Akar had not “hidden the existence of the problem” with Germany during a previous interview in February. Ergin held the interview four days after Akar met with Kramp-Karrenbauer at the headquarters of the German Defense Ministry in Berlin on Feb. 2.

“Problems sometimes arise with regards to the exports permits of military products that Turkey wants to buy. This stems from some of the negative stances within Germany's domestic politics. Hundreds of military products are the issue here, including tank motors, howitzer battery motors,” Ergin had written in his column in February.

Ergin said that in the aftermath of the February meeting, Kramp-Karrenbauer had similarly said that “some difficult issues were discussed.” “And this issue has come to the agenda once again in the German defense minister's Turkey visit in June,” Ergin wrote.

Ergin said that the informal embargo makes a differentiation between equipment used for naval and land forces. “Germany neither hides that it is making such a distinction,” Ergin said, citing German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas' remarks from last year.

Maas had told German General-Anzeiger newspaper in July 2020 that Germany does not approve weapon sales to Turkey, with the exception of vehicles and equipment used for naval forces.

"What Turkey has done in the Syrian war is unacceptable to us,’’ Maas had said.

Maas had made the comments in response to the question as to why “the German government is not completely halting its arms exports to Turkey, which has intervened in Syria and Libya.”

Following Turkey’s operation into northeastern Syria on Oct. 9, 2019, Germany imposed a partial arms export ban on Turkey, which applies to weapons that can be used in the Syrian war.