Germany has called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for clarification regarding the use of German weapons in their fight against the PKK-affiliated Shingal Protection Units (YBŞ), German news outlet Spiegel Online reported.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Germany and the European Union, and in the past week clashes have erupted between peshmerga forces and the PKK’s Yazidi branch, known as the YBŞ, in the Khanasor area located in northwestern Sinjar. Following the incident, Jan van Aken, a member of the Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in the German Bundestag said in footage taken during the clashes he identified that peshmerga forces were using German G36 assault rifles. According to Spiegel, a spokesperson for the German Ministry of Defense said German soldiers stationed in the KRG were requested to speak about the incident with KRG officials on behalf of Berlin.
Germany is one of the countries supplying arms to KRG peshmerga forces in their fight against Daesh. Along with 8,000 G-36 assault rifles and anti-tank Milan missiles, outmoded G-3 rifles were also sent to KRG as part of Germany’s defense aid. However, a German Defense Ministry spokesperson said Germany had supplied weapons to the peshmerga under the condition they were used only in the fight against Daesh, Spiegel reported on March 6.
Meanwhile, Irbil-based Kurdish media group Rudaw reported on March 8 that KRG officials had denied claims that Germany has called for clarification from the KRG over the alleged usage of German weapons. “We, as the foreign relations department, have not received such a call from the German government,” Falah Mustafa, head of the KRG’s foreign relations department, told Rudaw.
The KRG peshmergas are the most effective forces in the fight against Daesh and last week peshmerga Chief of Staff Jamal Iminiki said the terrorist PKK and its armed offshoots in Sinjar stand with Iran and the Assad regime. “The stationing of PKK-affiliated groups in the area is based on a regional agenda. They are directed and linked by Hashd al-Shaabi, Iran, and Syria to compete with the Shia Crescent in the region,” Iminiki told the Kurdistan24 news outlet on March 4.
Notwithstanding this, Germany’s conditions for countries purchasing arms which prevent them from using its weapons against PKK terrorists is not a new thing. For instance, in 1992 Germany asked Turkey not to use its weapons in the fight against the PKK and imposed an embargo on Turkey. Germany also attached a clause to the sale deals of Leopard-2 tanks that limits the use of these tanks against the PKK. This clause became obsolete when a military cooperation agreement was signed between the two countries in 2009.
Turkey constantly criticizes Germany for supporting the PKK and allowing the terrorist organization to freely conduct recruitment operations, propaganda and funding activities on German soil. The PKK has more than 14,000 members and adherents in Germany, according to the 2015 annual report of German domestic intelligence agency, BfV.
Although the PKK is banned in Germany, which is home to a large Kurdish community, the terrorist group has been carrying out significant activities through various cultural associations. According to the BfV’s annual report released in June, the PKK raised more than 13 million euros ($14.3 million) in Germany last year. The group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU and the U.S., is responsible for the deaths of more than 44,000 people in a decades-long campaign against Turkey, and has recently intensified its terrorist attacks.
Between 2006 and 2016, Turkey demanded the extradition of a total of 136 PKK terrorists from Germany. The German government agreed to hand over only three of them to the Turkish authorities, the Justice Ministry announced.
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