Selling arms to Turkey is illegal as it backs jihadist groups in Syria and practices torture in its prisons, a British parliamentarian wrote in an opinion piece for Newsweek.
“Does arming repressive nations that use jihadis to fight proxy wars uphold the values of this government? Perhaps it does,” wrote Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a member of parliament for the opposition Labour Party.
“These are exactly the markets that our system says it is illegal for UK arms manufacturers and brokers to sell to. Yet the deals keep getting cut and the bombs keep falling.”
Arming Turkey, which is presently carrying out an operation against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Afrin, is ethically comparable to arming Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in a conflict in Yemen, Russell-Moyle said.
“Arming Turkey presents the same problems as arming Saudi Arabia. Both are internally repressive, both institutionally use torture and both have on occasion exercised violent collective punishment against minorities,” he said.
“They also both support al-Qaeda in Syria, a designated terrorist organisation, so both present clear diversion risks.”
However, Britain has sold Turkey $209 million worth of arms since Erdoğan came to power, as well as signing a $140 million deal for the sale of warplanes, Russell-Moyle said.