Air NZ confirms it’s currently working for Turkish military among others
Air New Zealand has confirmed it’s currently working for a number of navies overseas, including the Turkish military, which is accused of war crimes in Syria.
Now, New Zealand’s national carrier has confirmed its gas turbines team is also working for the Turkish navy; a military heavily involved in the Syrian War.
The Syrian War is a conflict a long way from New Zealand with the United Nations saying summary executions, rapes and torture are carried out by all sides.
Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said we are aware the Turkish navy “have been committing some horrific war crimes in northern Syria”.
Wellington Peace Action’s Valerie Morse said it’s not enough to simply know though.
“[If you] contribute to the capability then you are assisting in the work that they are doing,” Morse said.
“When we’re talking about Turkey, we are talking about their contribution to the ongoing conflict in Syria without any real oversight by the New Zealand Government.”
It comes after a 1 NEWS investigation on Monday revealed Air New Zealand was fixing engines for the Saudi navy that is currently blockading Yemen.
While the work was promptly abandoned this week, the airline has revealed it is currently working on other military contracts with Australia, the US, Canada, Taiwan and Turkey.
Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said yesterday in a statement that the type of work carried out includes “the overhaul and repair of gas turbines, the major components of these being gas generators or power turbines for navy ships”.
Foreign policy expert Robert Patman said Turkey has become “a lot more assertive in its foreign policy in the last few years” which “doesn’t always sit comfortably with the positions we hold”.
Patman added that while China “probably already knows” of Air New Zealand’s work with Taiwan’s navy, it “may not appreciate it being made public”.
The airline has been doing work for the likes of the Turkish and Taiwanese navies for the past decade.
However, Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said he had little idea about which militaries the company was helping until the 1 NEWS investigation.
“I’m disappointed and I think the people of New Zealand will be disappointed to know that our national carrier hadn’t turned its mind to whether or not it was aiding in the literal massacre of people via its contracts,” Ghahraman said.
Morse said the national carrier has been “involved, essentially, in international conflicts”.
“We need to have some answers – we need a parliamentary inquiry, we need some real transparency about what Air New Zealand is up to,” she said.
Calls for an independent investigation continue to grow.