Rushanara Ali MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma, and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Right of the Rohingya, welcomed confirmation from the Turkish Ambassador to the UK that Turkey does not sell arms to Myanmar.
His Excellency Ümit Yalçın, Turkish Ambassador to the UK, wrote to Rushanara Ali stating: “In line of its sensible approach and international commitments, Turkey has not sold or transferred any arms, arms related material or dual-use items to Myanmar.”
This is believed to be the first official confirmation from Turkey that they have a de-facto arms embargo in place.
The Myanmar military has a decades long record of violations of international law against civilian populations in Myanmar. It faces charges of genocide against the Rohingya at the International Court of Justice, and is being investigated for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. In February 2021 the military held a coup, deposing the elected government, and has killed more than 1,300 people, forced more than 300,000 to flee their homes, and arrested more than 11,000 people.
Responding to the military coup and subsequent crackdown, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in June 2021 which called for the flow of arms to the Burmese military to be stopped. More than 70 of the 119 United Nations members which backed the resolution do not have their own arms embargoes in place. Rushanara Ali MP wrote to the ambassadors of these countries asking them to introduce unilateral arms embargoes. A UN mandated global arms embargo would require a Resolution by the United Nations General Assembly, which would likely be vetoed by Russia and China.
Rushanara Ali MP said: “I am pleased to see Turkey join the growing number of countries going on record as refusing to sell arms to the Myanmar military. I urge all UN members to also impose their own unilateral arms embargoes. It is vital to stop the flow of arms to the Myanmar military, which is using them to slaughter the civilian population of the country.”