Turkey has been supplying Ukraine with cluster bombs since November 2022 in a move that reverses pledges made to the international disarmament community, US and European officials told Foreign Policy.
Though yet unconfirmed, the report of Turkey’s sale of weaponry contravened under the Oslo Convention will not surprise many readers familiar with the long history of allegations against Turkey for engaging in banned warfare.
The Turkish armed forces allegedly used cluster munitions against Kurdish fighters during military operations in northern Syria and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Kurdish news agency ANF reported on their use in the Syrian city of Afrin in 2018, then against civilian settlements in Syria’s Ayn Issa region in 2021, and during the shelling of Umm al-Kif village in Syria earlier in 2022.
Just look, how Turkey blindly & indiscriminately bombing Kurdistan with NATO's bombs, often phosphorus & cluster bombs, burning Kurdish green soil & forests, killing z wild, polluting z environment.
Burning & destroying Kurdistan calls 4 "fighting PKK!" https://t.co/838EcIPDfn
— RebwarR (@RebRw) June 18, 2020
Ankara has sought to keep quiet the move to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs, according to Foreign Policy, due to the controversial nature of supplying internationally condemned weapons, but also because of the pivotal role Turkey plays in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. More specifically, the United States had already denied Ukraine access to the munitions.
“After the U.S. denied [Ukraine] access to cluster munitions, Turkey was the only place they could get them,” the source told the Washington-based magazine. Turkey is currently not a party state to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which was signed by 109 countries in 2010. Wikileaks described Turkey as existing under “a de facto moratorium” on the use of cluster munitions.
Moscow is “closely watching the situation”, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, adding that it was “hard to say” whether the reports alleging Turkey’s cluster munitions supplies to Ukraine were true, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.
In a letter sent to the CCM in 2021, Turkey said it had not used, produced, imported or transferred cluster munitions since 2005, Foreign Policy said.