Stop Arms Sales to Turkey

Stop Turkey's Dirty War against the Kurds

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"The Labour Government will put human rights at the heart of its foreign policy." -- Labour Party's Mission Statement, May 1997

"Labour will not permit the sale of arms to regimes that might use them for internal repression or internal aggression." -- Robin Cook, British Foreign Secretary, 28 July 1997

Turkey spares no expense to attract 7 million tourists annually to all parts of the country bar the Kurdish south-east. Held under savage military control and a State of Emergency, the region is kept off-limits to all but those involved in maintaining the repression of the 15-20 million Kurds who live within the present-day borders of the Republic of Turkey.

Today, as a result of the systematic campaign of repression and extermination, over 3 million Kurds have been made homeless, 4,000 Kurdish villages burnt and razed, livestock killed and orchards and forests which sustain the life of the villagers torched.

Few people visiting Turkey get to see or hear anything of this dirty war which has left over 24,000 people dead in the 13 year struggle of the Kurdish people for their basic rights and fundamental human freedoms. British arms companies are selling weapons to the Turkish Army in its 'Dirty War' against the Kurdish civilian population.

We condemn the complicity of the British government and the UK arms companies, who share responsibility for the repression of the Kurdish people by arming the Turkish regime. The new Labour Government must lead international action to stop Turkey's brutal war against the Kurdish people.

If the British government is serious about 'putting human rights at the heart of foreign policy' then it should immediately ban all arms sales to Turkey and encourage the Turkish government to pursue not a 'military solution', but a peaceful and democratic solution to the Turkish Question.

Arms Procurement

Turkey was the second highest spender on conventional weapons during 1992-1996.

Arms Industry

Turkey has a $31 billion military modernisation programme, developing its indigenous arms industry. Co-production with leading arms manufacturers in Israel, the US and Germany is taking place.


Turkey's geographical position is of crucial strategic importance to Western powers. Turkey has the second largest armed forces in NATO after the US. NATO member states have supplied Turkey with military equipment since it became a member.

Human Rights

Since the beginning of the 1990's Turkey's human rights record has deteriorated, especially in its barbaric treatment of the Kurds.

War in Kurdistan

Since 1984 the war is south east Turkey has cost more than 22,000 lives and resulted in the forcible eviction of 3 million Kurds.

The UK's Role

Turkey's foreign minister and Turkish generals were invited and attended the 1997 Royal Navy and British Army Equipment exhibition in Farnborough. Vickers Defence Systems placed a bid in February 1997 to supply 800 battle tanks to Turkey. Gun mounted British Land Rovers are used extensively in the attacks and forced depopulation of Kurdish villages.

Ethical Foreign Policy

Robin Cook has promised to put human rights at the heart of Labour's foreign policy. In the light of Turkey's human rights record should the UK government be supplying arms to this oppressive regime?

Contacts for further information:

	CAAT					Kurdish Information Centre
	11 Goodwin Street			10 Glasshouse Yard
	Finsbury Park				London EC1A 4JN
	London N4 3HQ
						tel	+44-171-250-1315
	tel:	+44 171 281 0297		fax	+44-171-250-1317 
	fax:	+44 171 281 4369

The text and images for this page have been reproduced verbatim from a leaflet produced by CAAT and KIC.
Turkey ~ The Arming of Turkey
(c) Keith Parkins 1998 -- June 1998 rev 2