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German Ruling Party Rejects $7.1 Billion Leopard II Tank Contract With Turkey AHI Welcomes This Decision And Calls On The U.S. To Follow This Example
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
September 14, 2000 No. 43/00 (202) 785-8430

German Ruling Party Rejects $7.1 Billion Leopard II Tank Contract With Turkey

AHI Welcomes This Decision And Calls On The U.S. To Follow This Example

On September 8, 2000 Mr. Peter Struck, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany, gave an interview to Die Welt in which he commented on the discussion between Germany and Turkey about a multi-billion dollar contract for supply of the Leopard II tank.

According to the interview text and a Reuters account, Mr. Struck stated that the SPD held the unanimously view that the unsatisfactory state of human rights in Turkey rendered the proposed tank deal "unable to be approved." Therefore he stated that "the government would veto" the contract "on human rights grounds." He added that the SPD did not expect this decision to change in the light of the fact that "no progress" was being made in Turkey's human rights performance. In the interview Mr. Struck confirmed that Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping "fully agreed" that the contract should be blocked.

Eugene T Rossides, AHI General Counsel, stated:

"AHI welcomes Mr. Peter Struck's comments and congratulates the SPD on sending this clear signal that a code of human rights conduct should apply to all weapons contracts, including those between NATO allies.

"AHI calls on the Clinton/Gore. Administration to follow this example. The U.S. should make clear to Turkey that so long as its human rights performance, as detailed in the 1999 State Department Human Rights report, fails to meet acceptable standards, no deliveries of U.S. arms will be approved. This includes the proposed $4 billion contract to deliver 450 attack helicopters manufactured by Bell Textron.

"AHI calls on the Congress to invoke the provisions of HR 2269 ("The Code of Conduct on Arms Transfer Act of 1999") and to declare that these apply to all proposed arms deliveries to Turkey."