Questions have been raised about the reported use of German-manufactured Leopard tanks in Turkey’s offensive against Kurds in northern Syria. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell,file)
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The German government fired back Wednesday at critics of its arms export policies, insisting that it takes great care not to approve the sale of weapons to countries that abuse human rights. Newly released figures show the governing coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats approved more weapons exports over the past four years than its predecessor, including to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.Germany's centrist "grand coalition" approved sales worth 25.1 billion euros ($30.7 billion) between 2014 and 2017, an increase of 21 percent compared with the previous four years under a more right-leaning government, according to data contained in a government response to the opposition Left party.Exports to countries outside the European Union and NATO rose even more steeply, by 47 percent, to almost 15 billion euros.
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