Tank deal for Yücel’s release?

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Leopard 2 A7 in the training centre of the german army

Just a few days after Deniz Yücel’s surprise release, it appears that Turkey is expecting something in return. At the Munich Security Conference, Prime Minister Yildrim told dpa that it had requested German participation in the planned construction of the primary Turkish battle tank. According to the SZ, more than 1000 Atalay tanks are planned, for which the RBSS joint venture between the Turkish truck producer BMC and Rheinmetall was already founded in 2016. For an actual production start, however, approval is still required from the German government – which became increasingly unlikely since the start of the Turkish offensive against the Kurdish militia1.


Rheinmetall, together with the Munich-based company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, produces the Leopard 2 tank, which is the best-selling tank in the world((http://www.facing-finance.org/files/2017/02/waffenmeinerbank.pdf)). Between 2006 and 2011, more than 350 tanks were sold to Turkey with no specific conditions.  These tanks are now being used in the Turkish offensive in Syria. In addition to the production of new tanks, Turkey wants to upgrade its already existing varieties, among other things, with additional mine protection. Rheinmetall again will be undertaking this commission((http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/syrien-offensive-bundesregierung-zieht-zusage-zur-panzer-aufruestung-zurueck-a-1189780.html)).


In the run-up, Federal Foreign Minister Gabriel emphasized that there was “no political trade” for Yücel’s release and the person concerned himself categorically rejects “dirty deals”. In July 2017, all German arms exports to Turkey were temporarily shelved due to political tensions. This could be over now((http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/deutsch-tuerkische-beziehungen-wie-ankara-yuecels-freilassung-nutzen-will-1.3873035)).


Financial relationships with Rheinmetall (Source: Thomson Reuters):


Rheinmetall took out a loan of just under EUR 500 million in 2015. The lenders included Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, UniCredit and Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf, as well as Landesbank Bayern and Norddeutsche Landesbank.


In addition, Commerzbank participated in a share issuance of EUR 227 million in 2015.

  1. http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/deutsch-tuerkische-beziehungen-wie-ankara-yuecels-freilassung-nutzen-will-1.3873035 []