BERLIN --- Germany has put all major arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and increasingly strained ties with its NATO ally, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sept. 11.
The comments came after a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Berlin said another German couple was believed to have been detained in Turkey on political charges.
“We have put on hold all big requests [for arms exports] that Turkey has sent us and these are really not a few,” Gabriel said during a panel discussion organized by German business daily Handelsblatt.
Gabriel, senior member of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who are junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, pointed out that Berlin was obliged to send arms to a NATO ally, if requested.
But he said this was currently not possible so that nearly all arms exports were put on ice.
Gabriel said there were only a few exemptions, such as if the government’s decision was tied to international agreements or if the requested exports were about vehicles, not weapons.
The relationship between the two countries has long been tense after Germany granted asylum to FETÖ-linked former military personnel and civil servants and Turkey’s arrests of a handful of German nationals over espionage and terror-related charges. Reports that Turkey launched an investigation into 700 German firms, including giants Daimler and BASF, added further fuel to the tension, with Berlin considering whether or not to impose economic sanctions on Ankara.