German arms sales to Turkey decrease 85 percent in two years

The German government approved 12.9 million euros ($14.5 million) of arms sales to Turkey in 2018, according to figures provided by the German Ministry of Economy, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported on Friday. 

The figures indicate that German arms sales to Turkey decreased by 85 percent compared to 2016, when sales were 83.9 million euro ($94.6 million). 

The normalisation of bilateral relations between two countries has not affected German arms exports to Turkey, DW said. Turkey’s 2018 military operation in northwestern Syrian city of Afrin against Kurdish forces was the reasons behind the fall in arms sales, it said. 

Relations between Germany and Turkey deteriorated following a coup attempt in 2016. Ankara accuses Berlin of providing shelter to members of the Gülen movement, a religious group it blames for carrying out the coup attempt. Kurdish and Turkish dissidents, including journalist Can Dündar, have also fled to Germany due to the Turkish government’s crackdown on opponents. 

Ankara was also accused of using “hostage diplomacy” against Germany by jailing Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel for almost a year without charge. Yücel, Turkey correspondent for the Die Welt daily, was released in February 2018 reportedly after a meeting between German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Erdoğan visited Berlin for the first time in four years in September in an effort to ensure German financial and political support needed to overcome the current economic downturn in Turkey.