Germany approves 31 arms deals with Turkey amid signs of normalization


Germany approved more than 30 defense industry deals with Turkey in December and January, a report from the German Ministry of Economy said.

According to the report by the ministry prepared due to a parliamentary inquiry by the leftist politician Sevim Dağdelen, "from 18 December to 24 January 2018, 31 permits were issued for military armaments to Turkey."

The government has said that it has approved military armaments with code numbers covering the areas of bombs, torpedoes, missiles, fire control and surveillance systems, land vehicles, ships and marine equipment, aeronautical and electronic equipment, as well as special tanks and related parts and equipment.

Arms deals between Germany and Turkey have been a source of tension after the former said last month that it would halt the modernization of Leopard 2 tanks. Ankara and Berlin have had plans to have Turkey's Leopard tanks undergo modernization by a German defense industry company. The German media claimed in late January that the modernization of the tanks was put on ice due to strained relations. According to German law, every defense industry project must be approved by the cabinet.

Despite the little predicament in the Leopard 2 deal, it was revealed with the report by the German ministry that the two countries have been doing business as usual. Also recently, Stern, a German magazine, claimed that German defense company Rheinmetall and Turkish firm BMC already sealed an agreement on Jan. 9 in Düsseldorf.

"BMC is said to have concluded an agreement with its German partners to jointly modernize Leopard tanks from German production, which are now in the service of the Turkish military. Rheinmetall will supply the technology for this and BMC will help with the work on site. The goal: To protect the tanks better from bullets and mines," the Stern article said.

Meanwhile, another German citizen has been released from Turkish detention after a number of Germans have been released over the course of recent months. "I am pleased that there has been another release. A person about whom we have not released details has been released, though with a ban on leaving the country," a Foreign Ministry spokesman told a regular government news conference in Berlin.

The spokesman declined to give any details about where the person had been imprisoned, how long they had been in jail, or their gender. Four Germans remain in prison in Turkey on political grounds, he said.

The bilateral ties between Ankara and Berlin have breathed a sigh of relief after German human rights activist Peter Steudtner, translator Meşale Tolu and journalist Deniz Yücel have been released from Turkish detention since October. There have been also others whose names have not been disclosed by Turkish or German authorities.

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