A petition with 1300 signatures demanding the cancellation of arms export permits from Finland to Turkey was submitted on Friday, December 20th, to the Minister of Defence, the Committee of Defence, the Foreign Minister, the Committee of Foreign Affairs and President Sauli Niinistö.
The petition demands that the arms export permits to Turkey that have already been issued are canceled.
“Finland still has 21 valid arms export permits to Turkey, and if they are not drawn back, Finland will economically benefit from ethnic cleansing in North-Eastern Syria”, say Lotta Laaksonen from the group Friends of Rojava, that handed over the petition together with Ali Bayrakli. The petition further demands that Finland must be an example to other European countries, as Finland still holds the EU presidency.
Finland is not innocent regarding arms export permits, Veli-Pekka Hämäläinen reported in Yle 16.10.2019: “Based on the monetary values of the permits, last year Turkey was Finland’s most important partner in arms export. The number one product is protective steel and the most important exporter is Miilux Oy”.
October 9th, under the direction of Minister of Defence, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish parliament decided to suspend granting new arms export permits to Turkey. However, Finnish companies still have 21 valid permits to Turkey, which means that the arms export will continue. Miilux Oy is one of the companies having significant permits, and in the beginning of this year, a Turkish pension fund tied to the military, bought 70% of the company. Raahe-based Miilux Oy provides products for Turkish BMC, that produces armored vehicles and for major Turkish rocket and missile manufacturer Roketsan. There is proof that Turkey has used BMC armored Kirpi -vehicles in the invasion of North-Eastern Syria. The director of Miilux Oy, Pekka Miilukangas said to Yle that “if the valid permits are suspended, we will notice the effects in Raahe”, hinting at rising unemployment in Finland if there is no trade.
“We do not approve the way people are pitted against each other because governments and big companies benefit from trade and war. Finnish metalworkers should not be put in a place (by the owner of the company) where they are made to stand against people who are facing a genocide”, the petition states.
By providing arms to Turkey waging war, Finland is also aiding Turkey’s jihadist proxy groups, fulfilling ISIS-like atrocities against civilians in the invasion war in North-Eastern Syria. The connections between ISIS and Turkey have been proven.
Earlier in the fall, in an open letter to the Finnish government, peace organizations in Finland wrote: “The decision to stop granting new arms export permits to Turkey is a good start, but it will not stop all the export of arms there. Finland should withdraw the already made arms export permits, just like Sweden has already done, and work with other EU countries towards a total arms export ban on Turkey. The best way to realize this, is a binding resolution from the EU.” The people that signed the petition agree with this and demand an immediate stop to the arms trade to Turkey.
For more information on the campaign against arms deals with Turkey click here.