Italy sells arms to Turkey while condemning Syria offensive

Arms trade. Photo credit: UN

 ROME – Turkey is one of the Italian weapons industry's major clients according to statistics, raising calls for arms exports to the country to stop immediately.

 Italian newspaperValori reports that the Foreign Ministry in Italy authorised arms sales to Turkey for 360 million euros in 2018, according to the statistics from the Italian Network for Disarmament.  Therefore, says Valori, Italy's exports are facilitating the Turkish offensive in Syria.

 According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, from 2014-2018 Italy was the ninth largest arms exporter in the world, and Turkey was the country which bought the most Italian weaponry, purchasing 15 per cent of Italy’s total arms exports.

 The Italian Network for Disarmament is expressing strong concerns and has formally requested that Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio immediately suspend all supplies of arms and military systems to Turkey, as required by law 185 of 1990 which prevents sending arms to countries in state of armed conflict.

 The Italian Network for Disarmament’s statistics as reported in Valori say that in 2018 360 million euros’ worth of arms sales were authorised, in particular, 70 definitive export licenses, and that amongst the authorised materials were weapons or weapon systems of calibre greater than 19.7mm, ammunition, bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles and accessories as well as equipment for directing shooting, aircraft and software.

 It is sobering to reflect that even while Di Maio summons Turkey’s ambassador in protest against the offensive in Syria and Italian leaders label Turkey’s actions unacceptable, Italian weaponry is likely to be among the military equipment now being used against the Kurds.