Reuters in Berlin reports that Germany has finalized a long-delayed deal to sell 298 surplus Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Turkey. German defense group Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) will now modernize the tanks and prepare them for sale. This move is just the latest step in a massive German fire-sale that has made second-hand Leopard 2s the standard tank of European armies, and may be positioning KMW for a consolidation leadership role within the European defense market. The sale also reflects a new willingness to sell arms to Turkey, and some sources speculate that this move may have been influenced by that country’s upcoming EU membership negotiations.
The German Defence Ministry declined to give a price, but on August 5, 2005, DID covered a EUR 270 million contract to deliver 183 Leopard 1 and 150 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany to Greece – with refurbishment and other supplementary costs included in the price. That article also included additional information concerning Greece and Turkey’s relative tank fleets, which have the potential to come into direct conflict over ongoing tensions around Cyprus and other issues.