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Tuesday 24th
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

MINISTERS are putting weapon sales to Ankara over people’s lives, British-based campaign Solidarity with the People of Turkey (Spot) said yesterday.

Britain has sold almost £50 milion of arms to Turkey since the failed coup attempt of last July, new figures revealed yesterday.

Despite “brutal dictator” Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown on dissent — including the jailing of pro-Kurdish opposition MPs — the country remains one of the Department for International Trade’s “priority markets.”

Britain has sold Turkey missiles and bombs, and licensed £8.5m for aircraft, helicopters and drones — the most recent export statistics show.

Spot said: “Britain’s attitude and silence towards the struggle of Kurdish people and their representatives, freedom of speech and other human right invasions in Turkey becomes more evident.

“The silent attitude of government, just like the bloody agreement done with Saudis, has once again demonstrated its true values. Rather than being on the side of human lives and human rights, it decided to be on the side of weapon manufacturers.

“This is evidently one of the underlying reasons for the sickening silence of the government over Erdogan’s coup, and why it’s culpable in Turkey’s repression by selling almost £50m-worth of arms to Turkey since the crackdown on opposition groups.”

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith said: “This should be a time for caution and the promotion of human rights, not arms sales.”

Delegates from a solidarity trip to Istanbul will be part of a panel discussion at the School of African and Oriental Studies on February 2.

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