As Executive Committee member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Murat Karayılan, accused Germany and Canada of providing drone technology to Turkey, it was revealed – thanks to a written parliamentary question – that the United Kingdom (UK) has been providing military training to countries with serious breaches of human rights, including Turkey.
According to The Independent, in response to a written parliamentary question by Labour MP Sam Tarry, the UK government confirmed that it provides military training and ‘instruction’ to a number of countries where armed forces are involved in serious breaches of human rights.
Seventeen countries on the Foreign Office’s own human rights ‘watch list’, defined as states where the UK is “particularly concerned about human rights issues”, received such ‘instruction’ from the British armed forces from 2018-2020.
“The UK risks making itself complicit in the abuses that are being inflicted”
Some of the governments in these countries where ‘training’ and ‘instruction’ has been provided have employed extensive and repressive forms of violence against civilian protesters. The armed forces of Belarus and Chile, for example, were provided with ‘instruction’.
Other countries with poor human rights records not on the UK’s ‘watch list’ were also provided training, including Oman, Qatar, Turkey, the UAE and the Philippines.
Andrew Smith, from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, said: “Many of these armies have appalling human rights records and have been linked to brutal oppression as well as international aggression.
“By training and collaborating with despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers, the UK risks making itself complicit in the abuses that are being inflicted”.
NATO and several countries assist the Turkish state
As UK’s role was revealed, Murat Karayılan criticized Germany and Canada for providing drone technology to Turkey. He stated that it is not only the Turkish government that fights the PKK. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has always supported these actions by the Turkish state, he observed.
Turkey has produced military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) using ‘war technology’ that has been provided by German, Canadian, British and American companies. He added that Germany and Canada are responsible for the massacres that the UAV’s have been responsible for in Kurdistan.
Bernd Riexinger, co-chair of the Die Linke Party in Germany, called on the German government to halt arms sales to Turkey during his visit to a Kurdish association in Essen.
Riexinger said: “The least that Germany can do is not deliver weapons to Turkey anymore. Any military cooperation must be terminated”.