With twelve new trains for the Turkish state railway, Siemens can land a big deal. One of the Turkish financiers comes from Saudi Arabia but demands an anti-Israel statement. According to a report, the group should agree. Siemens rejects the allegation.

According to a media report, the Siemens group has signed a declaration of commitment to a boycott of Israel through its Turkish subsidiary for a deal with the Turkish state railway. This emerges from internal company documents, reported the SWR. Accordingly, a Saudi Arabian financier had requested the Turkish side to declare a boycott.

According to the report, the Turkish state railway had applied for a loan from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to finance eight Siemens trains. The bank has stipulated that all parties involved respect the “boycott regulations of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the League of Arab States and the African Union”. Siemens had to submit a “sworn declaration” about this. This would oblige Siemens not to do any business with Israel in order to put economic pressure on the country.

Such a declaration would violate German law. According to the internal documents, Siemens strategists warned that not making an explanation would have “most likely” resulted in the disqualification of the group in the tender.

As the SWR further reports, Siemens solved the problem by having its Turkish subsidiary Siemens AS sign the critical statement. The group was awarded the contract, and the order has meanwhile been expanded from initially ten to twelve trains.

According to SWR, when asked about the process, the group only said that it adheres to “all national and international compliance standards”. Arnold Wallraff, President of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control until 2017, told the broadcaster that Siemens had in fact acted in a legally compliant manner. However, the group is now making it clear that neither Siemens AG nor its subsidiary Siemens Turkey signed such a boycott declaration in 2018. In its business activities, the group strictly adheres to all national and international laws.

The President of the German-Israeli Society, Volker Beck, previously criticized Siemens sharply: “I think that’s a moral oath of disclosure for a German company,” he told the broadcaster. He will file a complaint to have Siemens’ actions legally reviewed.

The clarification from Siemens was only received after the publication of the contribution.