Britain ‘putting arms sales to Turkey above human rights’

The Guardian- Britain has sold almost £50m-worth of arms to Turkey since the crackdown on opposition groups by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after last year’s failed coup attempt.

Newly published export statistics confirm that Turkey is now a major buyer of UK-made weapons.

Between 1 July and 30 September, the UK sold Turkey £26m-worth of ML13 licences, which relate to exports of armoured plate, body armour and helmets. In addition, Britain sold Turkey £8.5m-worth of ML10 licences, for aircraft, helicopters and drones, and almost £4m-worth of ML4 licences, for missiles, bombs and “counter-measures”.

Since 2015 the UK has sold Turkey £330m-worth of arms. The country is on the Department for International Trade’s list of “priority markets” for arms exports. But the sales come amid mounting concerns about the abuse of human rights. Last week Turkish MPs held a second and final round of voting on constitutional changes to give President Erdoğan sweeping new powers. Under the plans, he will be able to choose ministers and judges and the post of prime minister will be axed. Critics have seen the move as a power grab.

Since last July’s failed coup, more than 125,000 people have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs and around 40,000 others arrested. There are claims from human rights groups that opponents of the regime have been tortured. Turkey says that it is investigating 10,000 people on suspicion of using social media to support terrorism.

 

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