German missile technology used in the Turkish aggression on Zap

The Turkish state is relying on German weapons technology in its war of aggression on the Zap region of southern Kurdistan. The MAM-L air-to-surface missiles used by killer drones are from German licensed production.

German technology plays a strategic role in Turkey's large-scale attack on the PKK-held Medya Defense Zones in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq). Videos from the Turkish Ministry of Defense show that "intelligent" air-to-surface missiles of the MAM-L type are being fired from Turkish killer drones. The Turkish war industry website "Savunma Sanayi" (Defense Industry) praises the use of MAM-L missiles in the invasion operation in the Medya Defense Zones. These missiles have been used before for extralegal executions and massacres. For example, at the end of June 2020 in Kobanê, three activists, Zehra Berkel, Hebûn Mele Xelîl and Amina Waysî, were victims of an extralegal execution by a Turkish combat drone equipped with MAM-L missiles.

German-Turkish co-production

The development of this weapons technology is an example of cooperation between Germany and Turkish fascism. As much as the Turkish army claims for nationalistic motives that the missiles are products of the army company Roketsan, crucial parts of the MAM-L and especially the construction plan originate from the German armament company TDW. For the Bayraktar TB-2 drone, the LRAT and MRAT missiles were further developed with the help of TDW. Many parts of the drone itself were also produced in Germany. The drone is named after Selçuk Bayraktar, founder of the company and son-in-law of Turkish regime leader Erdoğan. The TB2 is an important cornerstone of the AKP/MHP regime's neo-Ottoman imperialism and was used in Libya and against Armenia.

License and technology from Germany

The MAM-L missiles carry about 22 kilograms and have already caused countless civilian deaths in Kurdistan, Libya, Yemen, Armenia and, most recently, even Ethiopia. TDW, a German subsidiary of MBDA, a European-based missile systems developer with French and Italian partners, has been cooperating with the Turkish state on missile development since 2010.

TDW sold warheads for LRAT and MRAT missiles to the Turkish military until 2018. According to a response by the German government to a question posed by the left-wing parliamentary group in September 2018, approval was granted for two arms agreements between the Turkish state and the "smart missile" producing group TDW between January and June of that year. Both agreements are said to be worth 290,000 euros. Subsequently, these missiles were redesigned by TDW to be carried by drones. In addition, licenses for the production of the MAM-L missiles were sold.

By paying the license fee, the Turkish state can produce the missiles with TDW's technology at its own discretion. This allows German companies to make money easily and without the control of the German government. The Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security (BITS) also points to TDW in its report on arms and munitions exports under German responsibility. The report talks about the contribution of weapons produced and designed in Germany to the deaths of many people around the world, with the TDW company playing a particularly important role in this. The guided missiles developed by this company have bunker-busting properties and would therefore cause the death of even more people.

"Shortcut" from Germany

In 2020, following extralegal executions by MAM-L missiles in Rojava and Southern Kurdistan, Monitor magazine investigated Germany's contribution to these guided weapons. In the piece, Brian Castner, Amnesty International's weapons expert, noted the modification of missiles for drones, stating, "Developing the technology, the materials, and all the steps simply takes time. Such technology transfers provide a kind of guidance. Turkey can use it to see how German engineers have solved various problems. It's a kind of shortcut." Monitor continued, "The 'shortcut' came from the German warhead specialist TDW. It is explicitly named as a supplier and also advertises in a company presentation that they have produced warheads for Turkey. The federal government has listed a number of approvals for development and technology since 2010, going into 2018. Small numbers, but regular." Apparently, the quantities should be sufficient for Turkey to replicate the warheads itself.

Weapons with NATO code

The use of Turkish drone technology has once again come to the agenda with the Turkish war of aggression on the Armenian region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). In the process, images of debris from drones and unexploded MAM-L missiles surfaced. The pictures show parts that were produced by TDW and the French company ASB Aerospatiale. The launchers for the MAM-L missiles were made in France and carried a NATO code.