Ankara sent Berlin a note for the German tanks used against Afrin

Pro-Turkey Syrian fighters and Turkish troops secure the Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured the strategic hill in northwestern Syria after intense fighting on Sunday as their offensive to root out Kurdish fighters enters its second week, Turkey's military and Syrian war monitor reported. (AP Photo)

Despite the Federal German Government’s statements on the use of Leopard II tanks in the attacks against Afrin, it has come to light that Ankara had sent a notice to Berlin last week.

The Berlin administration is under pressure due to the Turkish army using German-made Leopard II tanks in the attacks and massacres against Afrin. Despite photographs of German Leopard tanks published in the press, the Federal German Government had issued a statement saying they “didn’t have information”.

Defense Ministry Spokesperson Holger Neumann spoke in a press conference last week in Berlin and said, “Outside of the images on the media, we have no information on the Leopard tanks being used. We do not know when or where these photographs were taken.” A similar statement had also been made by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson.

But it has since come to light that the federal government had been in possession of information that Leopard II tanks and other German weapons were being used in the invasion attempt against Afrin for a long time. According to an article by Spiegel Online, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli met with the German ambassador in Ankara last Wednesday and informed him about the matter.

A spokesperson from Germany’s Foreign Ministry said, “In the meeting, the Turkish minister did not deny the information that German panzers were being used.” But despite this, news agency Reuters said the German Economy Ministry claimed they had “no concrete information on (their) tanks being used” in a notice they sent to the Federal Parliament.


After photographs of the Leopard II tanks previously sold by Germany to the Turkish army being used in the Afrin attack surfaced, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had stated that they would not be approving the plan for the modernization of the previously sold tanks until a new government was formed.

But contrary to this statement, it had come to light that the German government sent intermediaries to the AKP and did in fact allow a deal for some tanks in October. It came to light that right after the Federal Security Council (BSR) meeting with Chancellor Merkel, who approved the arms trade at the time, and 6 ministers, the deal for the modernization of 120 M60 type tanks sold to the Turkish army had been approved.

The Leopard II tanks used in the Afrin attack had been sold to Turkey between 2006 and 2009. The 354 Leopard II’s had been delivered without any restrictions against their use. It is unclear whether the new federal government expected to be formed in the coming days will or will not approve the plan for the modernization of the Leopard II tanks manufactured by the firm Krauss-Maffei Wegman.


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