NGOs threaten to sue regional governments for exporting weapons technology to Turkey

NGOs threaten to sue regional governments for exporting weapons technology to Turkey
The components made in Belgium are used for Turkey's A400M military transport aircrafts. Credit: Kristof Moens/ Belgian Air Force

Four peace and human rights organisations have called for an end to the export of Belgian arms technology to Turkey, and have threatened legal action against the regional governments if no changes are made.

In a letter to the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels governments sent on Thursday, the NGOs argued that the Turkish air force is using Belgian technology to violate the arms embargo on Libya.

“Our governments are acting in violation of arms trade laws by supplying a user that violates the international arms embargo. If the three regions are unwilling to comply with their own regulations, we will have no choice but to take legal action,” the organisations said.

According to Ligue des droits humains (LDH), Amnesty International (AI), the Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Démocratie (CNAPD) and Vredesactie, Belgian arms companies Asco Industries, Sabca, Sonaca and Safran Aero Boosters have been supplying components for Turkey’s A400M military transport aircraft since 2013.

“These components are used to fuel conflicts in Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh. The fact that Belgian weapons technology is being used in this process is not only immoral but also illegal,” the organisations argued.

They pointed to a report by the United Nations (UN) which showed that 34 flights by Turkey’s A400Ms to Libya were in violation of the UN arms embargo, imposed by the intergovernmental organisation in 2011.

The NGOs called on the regional government to halt the export of components for the tenth and final Turkish A400M, and to exclude Turkey as an end-user from all current and future licences.

“If adequate measures are not taken, the organisations may be forced to take legal action to prevent exports of defence-related goods and components under the A400M programme,” a press release stated.

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