Stop arming Turkey

In October 2019, Turkish forces invaded Northern Syria. This followed the decision of the US Government to remove its presence from the area. There were reports of civilians being killed right from the start of operations. The US had been allied with Kurdish forces, who led the campaign against ISIL in the region, but Turkey classifies the Kurdish YPG as terrorists. Turkish forces invaded Afrin in 2018, in operations that saw them accused of “indiscriminately shelling civilians” by Amnesty International.

Despite its authoritarian domestic policy, and increasingly aggressive foreign policy, the Erodgan regime in Turkey is among the world’s largest recipients of UK weapons. Since President Erdogan came to power in August 2014, the UK has licensed £1.1 billion worth of arms to Turkey. Among other weapons, these include: £206 million worth of ML10 licences (aircraft, helicopters, drones); £84 million worth of ML6 licences (armoured vehicles, tanks) and £82 million worth of ML4 licences (grenades bombs, missiles, countermeasures)

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Putting the spotlight on UK arms sales to Turkey

Theresa May with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at G20 meeting

Earlier this year, Turkish forces entered Afrin, Syria. Ceren Sagir and Cinar Altun from Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) highlight the UK’s complicity in the atrocities that are taking place.

World leaders have watched idly as Turkey has fallen into even great authoritarianism and repression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

There are more journalists in prison in Turkey than in any other country, with other 160 news organisations closed since the coup-attempt: including 45 newspapers. 32 radio stations, 30 TV channels and 19 magazines. That is one reason why Freedom House has taken the step of declaring Turkey ‘not free’ for the first time this year.

Human rights and the foundations of democracy are being dismantled, but many EU countries have willingly ignored the oppression taking place while distastefully bartering over refugee numbers and quietly continuing to arm the regime.

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Public opinion is firmly against the arms trade

This September, thousands of people took part in two weeks of effective action against the DSEI arms fair, but we were acting for millions more across the UK. One thing we always have to remember is that public opinion is firmly on our side and that the overwhelming majority of people across the country are appalled by events like DSEI.