Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Campaign Against Arms Trade

  1.  The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is opposed to all military exports, but recognises that, despite its negative effects on human rights, security and the economy, the arms trade will not end overnight.

As an interim measure, therefore, CAAT is seeking an export licensing policy with an emphasis on restraint, especially on exports to governments which violate human rights or to countries in areas of conflict. This leads CAAT to focus its campaigning on sales to particular countries, one of them being Turkey.

  2.  The leading role of the armed forces within Turkish society and government; its occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974; its long established military rivalry with Greece, notwithstanding their mutual membership of NATO; its poor record on human rights, and its harsh treatment of the Kurdish people who live within its boundaries, and, indeed, over the Iraqi border, are well documented. They will, no doubt, be the subject of submissions by organisations better qualified to comment on them than ours.

  3.  The UK government considers military export licence applications against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

Amongst the eight criteria are Criterion Two which covers "The respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination"; Criterion Three "The internal situation in the country of final destination as a function of the existence of tensions or armed conflicts"; and Criterion Four "Preservation of regional peace, security and stability". Sales to Turkey do not meet these criteria.

  4.  CAAT believes that Turkey's strategic geographical position, situated between Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, as well as, historically, the Soviet Union, has led the UK and other western governments to overlook its negative attributes when considering military relations.

  5.  Through its military collaboration, the UK is giving Turkey's military a respectability it does not deserve, and undermining those working for justice and human rights.

  6.  Some of the UK-supplied equipment is directly used in human rights abuses. For instance, the Akrep vehicle, produced locally in Turkey under licence from the UK company Landrover, saw service against the Kurdish people in northern Iraq. (Independent on Sunday, 25 June 1995)

  7.  Turkey's military links with Israel, cemented by arms industry co- operation and military training pacts in 1996, are seen as threatening by other countries in the region, particularly Syria. These ties have also been seen as a way for Turkey to circumvent the restrictions that the United States and some European countries, such as Germany, have from time to time imposed. (Progressive magazine, December 1998)


  8.  According to the United States' Department of Defense's "Report on Allied Contributions to the Common Defense", March 2001, Turkey's military expenditure as a proportion of GDP rose during the 1990's whilst that of most NATO member countries fell.


NATO avg

  9.  As a result of a major economic crisis and the devaluation of the Turkish lira in 2001, the International Monetary Fund has put pressure on the Turkish government to make cuts in its military expenditure.

(Defense News, 17-23 September 2001) Turkey's total budget for the fiscal year 2002 is $54.4 billion; $20.4 billion less than in 2000. The Ministry of National Defence gets the largest share, $5.6 billion. This, at more than 10 per cent, is a greater proportion than before and is to help Turkey pay its debts to foreign contractors. (Jane's Defence Weekly, 31 October 2001)

  10.  Additionally, arms procurement benefits from monies the Turkish Defence Industries Undersecretariat (SSM) receives from the Defence Industry Support Fund. Since 1985 this Fund has received revenue generated by the imposition of a luxury tax on alcohol, tobacco, petrol and gambling, together with a small percentage of the interest earned on all Turkish Lira bank accounts. This Fund has also been hit by the downturn in the economy, receiving $500 million in 2001 against an anticipated $1 billion. It expects to receive $700 million in 2002. (Jane's Defence Weekly, 9 January 2002)


  11.  In the mid-1980s Turkey started to establish a huge military- industrial complex and to purchase sophisticated military hardware. The Turkish government wanted to modernise and re-equip the country's armed forces and to lessen their dependence on military imports.

  12.  Since then, many of Turkey's military contracts have been co- production deals with foreign investments in local companies averaging $300 million annually. (Jane's Defence Weekly, 28 February 2001) A model for these was the $4.5 billion "Peace Onyx" programme agreed in 1983. Under the programme, 160 General Dynamics F-16s were to be built under licence in Turkey. A joint US/Turkish company, Turkish Aerospace Industries, employing 1,600 staff, was set up on a site at Murted. General Dynamics transferred aircraft manufacturing know-how and set up management systems, whilst the labour was primarily indigenous. (Flight International, 15 July 1989)

  13.  Such deals continue. Turkey hopes to obtain work for local industry in respect of the $200 billion Joint Strike Fighter programme in return for a contribution of $1 billion towards the fighter's development. (Defense News, 5-11 November 2001)

  14.  The desire to develop a Turkish arms industry has sometimes been said by the military to be responsible for procurement delays. In the face of such criticism, a SSM official reaffirmed the priorities: "In our contract negotiations with foreign defence companies, the SSM always seeks to maximise local industry input, offsets, and technology transfer". (Defense News, 10-16 December 2001)


  15.  According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the UK was the fifth largest supplier of major conventional weapons to Turkey between 1996 and 2000, accounting for just over 1 per cent of the total:

US$ million
SIPRI Yearbook 2001

  16.  The UK government's Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls, which includes all military goods, gives the following figures for exports to Turkey.

  Military equipment deliveries identifiable under EC Tariff Codes in given year:

Value in
Per cent of total
UK sales by value
Rank as
UK customer

  Single Individual Export Licences on the Military List granted in given year—actual export may or may not take place.

Export licences
Value in
not available
not available

  17.  The Annual Reports show that the licences issued included those for sniper rifle training equipment, thermal imaging equipment, components for missiles, military aero-engines, software for the use of military communications equipment. More detail of some of the deals is to be found in the military press. Examples are given below.

  18.  MKEK and the manufacture of sub-machine guns. MKEK is a Turkish company that manufactures small arms and ammunition. It is a fast growing arms company. In 1999 it was the 60th largest arms company in the world, selling US$480 million of weapons and making a profit of US$38 million. (SIPRI Yearbook 2001) In 1997 it was the 84th largest arms company with US$360 million worth of arms sales and US$12 million profit. (SIPRI 1999). In1997 50 per cent of sales were military, now it is totally military.

  19.  Turkey ordered 200,000 HK33 5.6mm assault rifles from Heckler & Koch, a German subsidiary of BAE Systems' Royal Ordnance subsidiary in January 1998. Assembly of these rifles took place at a factory run by MKEK near Ankara. In October 1998 the number ordered rose to 500,000 despite serious concerns of the rifles being used for internal repression by the Turkish military.

  20.  In July 1998, the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that 500 Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns produced under licence were to be exported to the Indonesian Police which has a record of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killing. This deal came a few months after licences for the direct export of the guns from the UK were refused. MP5 machine-guns are also used by the Indonesian Special Forces KOPASSUS. ("Running Guns", Zed Books, 2000)

  21.  Matra BAe Dynamics and the sale of Rapier surface-to-air missiles. In August 1999 the UK and Turkey signed a co-production deal for Matra BAe Dynamics' Rapier Mk28 surface-to-air missiles (SAM). Under the 10-year programme, both countries will establish production lines. 840 missiles will be made for the Turkish Army and Air Force and approximately 1,500 more for the UK Army and Royal Air Force Regiment. (Jane's Defence Weekly, 8 September 1999)

  22.  Matra BAe Marconi Space was awarded a $100 million contract in September 1999 to build satellite communications terminals. The contract included a requirement for 40 per cent offset work for Turkish companies. (Jane's Defence Weekly, 25 August 1999 and 8 September 1999)

  23.  Racal. Racal Defence Electronics won a £9 million contract to supply its Sealion Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system for a NATO navy's submarines. Industry sources say it was for Turkish Type 209s. (Jane's Defence Weekly, 22 December 1999)

  24.  Landrover and Otokar. The Turkish company Otokar uses the Landrover chassis for its armoured personnel carrier, which "has proven itself in service of Turkish Military and Security forces for many years". It also makes Landrover Defender 90,110,130s and the AKREP attack/defence vehicle, which has 70 per cent of its mechanical parts in common with a standard Landrover 110. (

  25.  Airbus Military Transport Aircraft. In 2000 the Turkish Government approved the acquisition of 26 A-400M transport aircraft worth US$2.5 billion from the Airbus Military Company (AMC), in which Turkish Aircraft Industries has a stake of 9 per cent. Financial pressures led to the order being cut to 20 planes in May 2001, and to ten less than a month later. Delivery is planned for 2007-2014. (Defense News, 21 May 2001 and 11 June 2001)

  26.  Alvis armoured vehicles. In September 2001, Alvis and FNSS Defense Systems of Ankara signed an agreement to co-produce Alvis' Piranha armoured vehicle. (Defense News, 24 September 2001)

  27.  Joint Production Memorandum. In September 1998 a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Turkey was signed by the then UK Defence Secretary George Robertson and his Turkish counterpart Ismet Sezgin. Although the terms of the MoU are not known, it was said that the two countries would "identify joint areas of arms production as part of the continuing rationalisation of the European defence industry." (Jane's Defence Weekly, 23 September 1998)

  28.  Export Credits. Many of the military purchases and joint ventures have been underwritten by the Department of Trade and Industry's Export Credits Guarantee Department. The value of ECGD guarantees issued in support of military-related contracts to Turkey is:

£36 million
£0 million
1999-31 January 2000
£208 million
28 February 2000)

  As of 11 July 2001, the outstanding exposure on ECGD guarantees for military equipment to Turkey was £267 million. (Hansard, 20 July 2001)

  29.  Although full information about projects supported by the export credits is not in the public domain, both the Landrover supplies to Otokar (Hansard, 5 April 2000) and the air defence missiles (Hansard, 27 January 2000) received ECGD cover.

  30.  UK training. The UK trains members of the Turkish armed forces, a total of 52 Turkish personnel receiving such training in the year to 31 March 2000. (Hansard, 21 July 2000)

  31.  A letter from Defence Minister Lord Gilbert to Lord Rea dated 2 March 1998 gives some idea of the range of training received. In the year prior to the letter, training included: 37 Turkish students received English Language Training; ten students attended various Royal Navy courses; the crews of a Turkish frigate and a submarine attended the Royal Navy Operational Sea Training at Plymouth; and a number attended various command and staff courses.

  32.  UK visits to Turkey. From a consideration of the year 2000, it would seem that frequent visits to Turkey are made by UK military personnel.

  In that year, there were visits by the Chief of Naval Staff, the Commander in Chief Strike Command, and of UK officers to various Turkish armed forces training establishments, as well as ship visits and a platoon exchange. (Hansard, 10 January 2001)

  33.  "Blind Eye". Of grave concern are the allegations, made by Dr Eric Herring of Bristol University, that RAF pilots patrolling the "no-fly zone" in northern Iraq are recalled to their base in Turkey in order to allow the Turkish airforce to bomb the Kurdish people in Iraq. (New Statesman, 19 March 2001)


  34.  EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. In 2000, Turkey declared itsubscribed to the European Union Code of Conduct on Arms Exports andthat it would adjust its export policies accordingly. Turkish arms exports amount to about $200 million a year and SSM has formed a division to promote them. It made its first appearance at the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi in March 2001. (Jane's Defence Weekly, 28 February 2001)

  35.  The experience to date is not encouraging. Algeria bought 700 Akrep armoured vehicles (see paragraph 24 above), produced by Otokar under licence from the UK company Landrover, in 1995. "The buy is seen as an important element in equipping the army for a counter-insurgency role".

(Defense News, 15-21 May 1995) The record of the Algerian authorities gives rise to concern over human rights and it is unlikely that any such export directly from the UK would have taken place without much criticism in parliament and the press.

  36.  Turkey has donated or sold military equipment to nearby former- Soviet states. In September 2001, 80 military vehicles were given to Azerbaijan as part of "continued military co-operation between the two states". (Jane's Defence Weekly, 3 October 2001) Since February 1992, Azerbaijan has been subject to an Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe arms embargo.

  37.  The "Six-Nation" Framework Agreement. CAAT has already raised, in its submission to the Defence Committee Inquiry 2001, its concerns regarding the Framework Agreement Concerning Measures to Facilitate the Restructuring and Operation of the European Defence Industry, signed in July 2000 and ratified by the UK in March 2001. Although the Framework Agreement does not include all the EU member states, it could well expand to include them.

  38.  As Turkey is keen to develop its military industry, and usually does so in co-operation with companies based in other countries, it seems likely that Turkey would wish to become a party to the Framework Agreement. Although this would undoubtedly be welcomed by the military companies, when decisions on permitted export destination lists are made it would further tip the balance in decision-making away from those counties, such as Sweden, which operate more restrictive export policies. It should be noted that Sweden does not export military equipment to Turkey.

  39.  The Framework Agreement envisages the setting up of Co-operative Armament Programmes (CAP) and that goods will be exported to participants under Global Product Licences (GPL). It has yet to be seen how this will work in practice. CAAT would be unhappy if Turkey were to participate in the Framework Agrement, but, were it to do so, it would be even more vital that there is a system of checks to ensure that goods exported under GPLs are incorporated in the relevant CAP and not otherwise.

  40.  STAR 21. In July 2001 the European Advisory Group on Aerospace, STAR 21, held its inaugural meeting. This group, which is dominated by representatives of the military companies, says it is looking at ways to modernise or upgrade Europe's political and regulatory framework to keep pace with the economic and technological change in the aerospace industry. The group should be reporting to the European Commission, Council of Ministers and European Parliament shortly.

  41.  As with the Framework Agreement, CAAT is worried that STAR 21 proposals may lead to weaker export controls at national level, a disquiet that would be magnified if the European Union expanded to include states such as Turkey. It is essential that the debate on these issues allows for substantial input by parliamentarians, national and European, as well as by interested civil society groups.


  42.  Turkey's human rights record and the influence of the military in Turkish society need to be addressed before Turkey becomes an EU member state. These moral implications are of utmost importance, but there are financial ones too. The country has major economic difficulties yet the cuts elsewhere in the budget are greater than those in military spending There is obvious distortion of the economy by the Turkish military and EU citizens should not be expected to financially underwrite it.

  43.  The lack of democratic input into European foreign and security policies in general, and the integration of military industry in particular, would almost certainly be exacerbated if Turkey were to join the European Union.

  44.  As Turkey clearly fails to meet the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, the UK government should impose an embargo to cover all goods needing a licence under Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994. It should encourage the other EU states to do likewise.

Campaign Against Arms Trade

January 2002

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