THE UK has resumed exporting arms to its NATO ally Turkey, despite condemning Turkish incursions as “reckless” and “counterproductive” two years ago.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakcı stated at a parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee meeting on February 17 that the United Kingdom has lifted a ban on arms sales to Turkey following a unilateral Turkish offensive in northern Syria in 2019, information that was kept secret from the public.
Explaining that Turkey faced obstacles in the procurement of weapons, Kaymakcı said this was also the case before the military operation in 2019. It was instrumental in Turkey’s strengthening of its defence industry.
Kaymakcı stated that they are trying to overcome barriers to arms sales and cited the United Kingdom’s removal of the arms sales ban as an example.
According to Britain’s Express daily, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the resumption of standard licensing in December.
The British government said licenses will only be issued if the applicant can “incontrovertibly demonstrate that the goods will not be used in northeastern Syria”
In 2019 EU states also agreed to stop arms sales to Turkey over its invasion of Syria.
European states issued licences for €2.8bn of arms sales to Turkey in 2017, EU records show.
It is very unclear how UK trade officials would be able to determine if the arms have been used in Syria or not.
According to Kaymakcı, significant progress was achieved in negotiations with the Netherlands and Germany. However, the Dutch government last October announced that the processing of license applications for the export of military goods or dual-use goods with military end-use to Turkey would resume provided that they are not used in northern Syria.
Kaymakcı may have meant that they are working on getting the bans lifted without any restrictions.
Declassified UK submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Foreign Office, and the government refused to provide the information they hold. They said doing so would “prejudice relations” between the UK and Turkey.