German government’s spokesperson confirmed the report by Spiegel which stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel reached an agreement that only a possible new government formed by a coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and and Social Democrats (SPD) should decide on any arms deliveries to Turkey.
“Concerning the current discussions about arms exports, the Federal Government is clear about the fact that Germany can not send arms in conflict areas and is not going to do so,” Gabriel told Spiegel.
Suspending of arms deliveries to Turkey is believed to be a move aimed at easing tension in German society, as images of German Leopard tanks being used by the Turkish army in its offensive in Syria are making the German public feel increasingly uncomfortable.
The aim of the Turkish operation in the Syria’s North, which continues for the sixth day already, is to eliminate Kurdish groups which Ankara considers to be terrorists, in particular the Kurdish militia YPG (People’s Protection Units). However, Germany as well as the US consider the YPG units to be an effective force in fighting Daesh in the region.
Ankara’s operation, dubbed Olive Branch, started after the US announced it is going to train a 30,000-strong border force at Syria’s northern borders, which will largely consist of the Kurdish militias considered to be terrorist organizations by Turkey.
Turkey expressed its resentment over Washington’s plans, with President Erdogan vowing to “strangle” the “terrorist army,” which the US creates near its borders.
In the wake of the launch of Turkey’s offensive in Syria, Germany recognized that Turkey has “legitimate security interests along its border with Syria,” according to the German Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokesman, Rainer Breul.
This position echoed the US stance, as Pentagon’s spokesman stated that America understands Turkey’s legitimate concern over security at its borders.