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Germans Seeks to Sell Turkey Tanks

March 17, 2000

BERLIN (AP) _ A German company has made a preliminary request for permission to supply 1,000 Leopard 2 tanks to Turkey, the Foreign Ministry confirmed Friday.

The move was sure to raise the ire of the pacifist wing of the junior coalition partner Greens party.

The government has not yet acted on Tuesday’s request from Mainz-based Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Michaelis. He provided no other details.

Asked about the tanks, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said: ``There has been no official development yet.″

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s government last year provided Turkey a single advanced model of the Leopard 2 for testing, in competition with the United States and other NATO countries. But top Greens argued that the coalition agreement said human rights issues should play a decisive role in approval of arms exports.

The Greens and Schroeder’s centrist Social Democrats have criticized Turkey for its treatment of the country’s 12 million Kurds, particularly for its 15-year war against Kurdish separatists.

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