Germany moving to limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey

Proposed law would also ban arms exports to other countries involved in military operations and regional crises.

Germany's centrist coalition has approved more weapons exports over the past four years [File: Jon Gambrell/AP]

A draft bill in Germany aims to ban weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey for their involvement in military conflicts.

The bill aims to prevent weapons exports and all other related goods and services to countries that may use them for human rights abuses.

The draft, proposed by the social-democratic opposition party Die Linke, focusses mostly on Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their role in the war in Yemen, but it also singles out Turkey for its military mission in northern Syria where the country has been fighting Kurdish forces.

If approved, the law would not only prevent future transactions from being made with these countries but also retroactively recall previously agreed upon deals.

The bill specifically talks about a deal made between Germany and Turkey to service several Leopard tanks.


Those tanks, originally German and bought by Turkey, were used during Operation Olive Branch, the January military mission by Turkey in northern Syria, where they fought against Kurdish YPG groups.

The documents also mention patrol boats bought by Saudi Arabia, which were used to blockade Yemeni ports from receiving aid and other goods to help alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in the war-torn country.

Saudi Arabia, together with the UAE, is partially blockading those ports as part of its military campaign in Yemen, which has cost thousands of people’s lives over the last few years.

Between 2013 and 2017, Saudi Arabia was one of the biggest recipients of German arms, worth $1.2bn in total.

In the third quarter of 2017, Germany exported most arms to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.

In January, the German government already announced it would halt all arms exports to countries involved in the ongoing war in Yemen, but this bill would expand on that by also working retroactively on deals already made.

Source: Al Jazeera