Germany (GPA) – German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch has announced they’ll no longer be supplying weapons to countries they deem “undemocratic and corrupt,” many of the countries that fit this criteria are US allies.
The primary countries who will lose access to the variety of pistols, rifles and submachine guns produced by the company will be a host of non-NATO nations. This includes the governments of places like Brazil, Mexico, India and Saudi Arabia.
Part of the reason Heckler & Koch won’t be selling to these countries is tight restrictions on bidding for these contracts imposed by the German government. The company has seen their profits decline around 90% in the last year due to difficulty obtaining the contracts with governments not on Germany’s list of “green” nations.
The company could still pursue these contracts if they chose to but besides the cost in meeting requirements to do so, a Heckler & Koch spokesman told German news outlet Die Welt that they would also like to clean up their brand’s image. The monetary pressures are the obvious reason for this decision but the arms manufacturer has also had scandals they’d like to recover from, such as illegally shipping rifles to Mexico and attempting to cover it up. They’ve also been accused of exporting arms to other states designated as corrupt but several of those claims are still under investigation in German courts.
Despite the reasoning it will be nice to see some of these countries have less options in purchasing weapons typically used in oppressing their own citizens.
On the topic of oppression there is one NATO member on the list of countries that won’t be doing business with Heckler & Koch anymore: Turkey. Turkey is on the company’s list of “yellow” nations despite being an ally of the west. The government in Ankara has already been limited in receiving arms from Austria recently, and is now going to be mostly shut out of Germany too.
Although this won’t stop Turkey from obtaining weapons, it is going to put a damper on them since Germany comes in fifth on the list of global arms exporters. Even if Turkey does have Heckler & Koch weapons now, they won’t be able to order any components to maintain them in the future. This obviously won’t stop these countries from being undemocratic murderers but if any other western nations began to follow Germany’s lead, even slightly, it would be a good start.