Germany’s possible decision to freeze the supply of modernized Leopard tanks requested by Turkey will by no means slow down the pace of the military operation against Kurds in Afrin, two retired Turkish generals have told Sputnik.
”Turkey is using a whole range of arms, including US tanks and modernized German Leopards as part of its successful military operation which became possible after Russia agreed to open its airspace to the Turkish Air Force,” retired Major General Armagan Kuloglu said in an interview with Sputnik Turkey.
He dismissed a possible German embargo as a symbolic gesture aimed at domestic consumption.
Retired Brigadier-General Ali Er, who has spent many years working within NATO’s command structures, agreed with his colleague that Turkey’s military operation in Afrin will not be hampered by the suspension of the Leopard modernization program.
He said that Turkey has everything it needs for the effective use and maintenance of its imported tanks.
“Besides, we have enough spare parts to keep us going for at least another 10 years. […] The infrastructure that we have today is ideal for both short-term combat operations and long-term ones,” he emphasized.
“I don’t think that our military modernization programs will depend on German [assistance] any time soon, because we have come a long way in developing our own weapons,” he added.
When asked how possible disagreements between Turkey and its NATO partners might impact the combat readiness of its armed forces, General Er said that since the Turkish military never takes time-serving decisions, especially when it comes to weapons systems, the defense strategy is outlined as part of a general system of national priorities, which is a decades-long process.
“Therefore, it will take 10 or 15 years before the tensions currently existing between Turkey and NATO start being reflected on our security strategy,” the general concluded.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday denied a Spiegel report that Germany had frozen the supply of Leopard main battle tanks to Ankara in light of the ongoing Turkish military operation in northern Syria.
He called Germany Turkey's ally and said that Ankara expects "support and solidarity" from Berlin.