"Tank protest" in Berlin: “We give you back your weapons!”

"Germany is the fifth largest arms exporter in the world. The prosperity of our country is based on the oppression and murder of people in other countries," said a group of people protesting in Berlin.

As part of a political art project, a group of people wanted to go to branches of arms companies and the SPD in Berlin on Wednesday with a self-made tank. Under the slogan "Stop the Turkish occupation - We'll give you back your weapons", the German warmongers were meant to be symbolically given back their weapons. The action began at the SPD branch in Wedding and caused quite a stir among passers-by. However, further visits could not take place for the time being, as they were disrupted and stopped by the police.

"The idea for arms exports as the theme of our art project came to us when we heard about Turkey's renewed attack on southern Kurdistan region of Gare, which violates international law," said the artists, explaining the background to their action in front of the SPD branch in Wedding. One of the participants read out a statement via megaphone and said:

"On the night of February 10, a full-scale invasion began in the southern Kurdistan/northern Iraqi region of Gare against the HPG guerrilla units there. Heavy airstrikes and military clashes were reported from the region itself. On February 14, this operation was officially declared over, but we continue to receive news of attacks on southern Kurdish/northern Iraqi areas. The Shengal area inhabited by Yazidis, where ISIS committed genocide in August 2014, is also targeted by the Erdogan regime.”

“Berlin most important trading partner for Ankara in building up Turkish military power”

Turkey is already occupying Kurdish areas in northern Syria and northern Iraq. Every day we receive horror reports from the occupied areas of northern Syria, where Turkey and its jihadist mercenaries are committing war crimes against the inhabitants and are responsible for ethnic displacements.

Erdogan needs weapons for this ongoing war of occupation. Berlin is Ankara's most important trading partner in building Turkey's military power. Over the past decade, Germany has been the second largest arms dealer for the Turkish state. In 2017 alone, Germany sold 62 million euros worth of weapons to Turkey.

So it's German weapons that are used to occupy Kurdish areas in northern and eastern Syria and northern Iraq and to suppress resistance in Kurdish areas in Turkey. And it is German weapons that are regularly used to commit war crimes in the Middle East.

Our government knew about the attack plans every time

Berlin and Ankara also cooperate at the political level. This is shown to us by the repeated meetings of the defense ministers of Germany and Turkey directly before the individual occupation operations in recent years. Each time, our government knew about the attack plans. It knows that these attacks are only possible with the arms supplies from German companies and that these companies profit massively from war crimes in the Middle East.

With this project, we wanted to highlight the inhumane policies of our federal government. Germany is the fifth largest arms exporter in the world. The prosperity of our country is based on the oppression and murder of people in other countries. Our society cannot simply accept this. That's why we just wanted to give the warmongers back their weapons, because we don't want them and the profit from them."

The police then showed up with several patrol cars, claiming that the group was violating the law on assemblies because the art project had not been registered, one of the participants said. The personal details of all the people were then subsequently taken. "We think it was no coincidence that this happened shortly after our visit to the SPD office in Berlin-Wedding. This shows us once again how the SPD wants to hide its involvement in Erdogan's inhumane policies. It is afraid that its official statements about reducing arms exports will be exposed as hypocrisy," the activist said.

Short film about German arms exports planned

Despite all this, the group draws a positive balance from the action. "We were able to carry out part of our project and hope that we can also contribute to more awareness of this issue among the population." The next project planned is a short film about German arms exports.