Germany seeks answers prior to sending defence exports to Turkey

Germany’s informal hold on defence exports to Turkey remains in place over concerns about the destination of arms, a European official told journalists on Wednesday.

According to the official, Turkey has so far failed to explain the purpose of the hundreds of defence exports it has requested from Germany, and no serious conversation is taking place between the two countries to respond to Berlin’s concerns over their final destination.

Even though there is no formal arms embargo enforced by Germany against Turkey, Ankara says Berlin has put an informal hold on a large number of defence industry products that are crucial to the country’s defence capabilities.

In January, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that he submitted a list of products to his German counterpart to specifically ask for their release.

“We need to have more information about these requests. We ask questions but there are no meaningful answers,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “There has been no meaningful conversation between the two sides on these requests for a long time. They haven’t been very nice to our military people.”

The official said Germany wants to know the purpose of the arms exports requests. They would like to be sure that they are going to be used in Turkey, not in other countries such as Azerbaijan or Libya.

Turkey’s utilisation of Canadian-made drone cameras in Libya and Azerbaijan triggered an arms embargo by Ottawa earlier this year.

Ankara has also been seeking German engines for its main battle tank project, Altay, for years. Rheinmetall, a German company, even sought to establish joint production with Turkish producer BMC.

However, Turkish military interventions in Syria and temporary arms embargoes against Ankara over the years by Germany have stalled the project.

The official said the German government that will be installed after parliamentary elections in September would make the final decision on the issue.