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10:36 AM, January 25, 2018
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German Opposition Parties Against Turkey Using Leopard 2 Tanks in Syrian Offensive
German Opposition Parties Against Turkey Using Leopold 2 Tanks in Syrian Offensive

German opposition have come out against the use of German-made Leopard 2 tanks by Turkey in its offensive against Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin region.

The criticism comes after it was reported by Turkish media that Berlin was considering providing Turkish tanks with better mine-protection gear. Other upgrades were reportedly also in store for hundreds of German-made tanks used by the Turkish army.

The opposition parties in Berlin, the Greens and the Left, accused the governing coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel of approving more weapons exports over the past four years than its predecessor, including to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.

German arms sales to so-called third countries - those beyond the EU and NATO - rose to $4.69bn in 2017 from $4.54bn a year earlier.

"The figures that have now become public show that there is a degree of moral depravity that I did not consider possible," said Dietmar Bartsch, co-chair of the Left Party, told German-based broadcaster ARD.

"That must be stopped immediately," he added, referring to the sale of weapons that might be used against pro-Kurdish forces in Syria.

"An immediate halt to all arms exports to Turkey is long overdue," Agnieszka Brugger, a lawmaker and defense expert for Germany's Green Party, told the Heilbronner Stimme newspaper.

The tanks used by Turkey come from decommissioned stocks of the Bundeswehr. Throughout its military campaign in the neighboring country, Turkey lost a number of 60-ton Leopard 2 tanks, built by Bavaria’s Krauss-Maffei, due to mine explosions. 

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