German arms exports to Turkey persist despite east Med turmoil
German arms exports to Turkey remains uninterrupted despite the ongoing rift over drilling rights in the island of Cyprus, European news outlet Euractiv reported on Thursday.
German firms sent €184,1 million ($207 million) worth of arms to Turkey in the first five months of 2019, Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics said in response to a question submitted by the opposition Left party (Die Linke), Euractiv said.
The exports were mainly deliveries for the 214 submarines to be built in Turkey with the involvement of the German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, according to the news site.
Tensions have escalated between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot government and Greece over drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean after a series of rich hydrocarbon discoveries. Nicosia and Athens disagree with Ankara’s claims of drilling rights in the region. Turkey, the only nation to recognise Northern Cyprus, maintains that attempts by Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot.
European Union member states and U.S. officials have objected to Turkey's increasing drilling efforts in the region and, the bloc on Monday announced sanctions on Turkey, including a freeze to 146 million euros of pre-accession assistance for Turkey for next year, the suspension of negotiations for an aviation agreement, and a review of lending to Turkey from the European Investment Bank, worth 386 million euros last year.
“At the moment, I believe that exports should be suspended,” Euractiv quoted Joachim Schustermember, a member of the Subcommittee for Security and Defence (SEDE) of the European Parliament, as saying when asked whether the German arms exports to Turkey is still appropriate after the EU sanctions.