Germany’s Merkel opposes total ban on arms exports to Turkey

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement on September 12, 2017 in Berlin to express her grief over the death of party colleague Heiner Geissler. Geissler, family minister in the cabinet of former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and former secretary general of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), died on September 12, 2017 at the age of 87. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said she opposes a total ban on arms exports to NATO partner Turkey, saying Ankara remains a key ally in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and adding that some restrictions have already been implemented.

According to Reuters, Merkel told broadcaster NDR that Germany would decide on arms sales requests from Turkey on a case-by-case basis.

Her remarks came a day after Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that Germany has halted major arms sales to Turkey due to the worsening human rights situation in the country and the strained relations between the two NATO allies.

Merkel also said she saw no reason to issue a travel warning for Germans going to Turkey but said Berlin would keep its options open.

Gabriel’s remarks came during a panel discussion organized by the Handelsblatt daily, after another German couple of Turkish origin was reported to have been detained in Turkey on Sunday.

We have put on hold all big requests [for arms exports] that Turkey has sent to us, and there are not just a few,” Gabriel said.

Responding to the German foreign minister’s remarks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Tuesday said Gabriel’s comments about stopping arms exports to Turkey are not appropriate for a foreign minister.

Çavuşoğlu told reporters that Turkey found Merkel’s stance more suitable and added that attempts to drum up support by attacking Turkey ahead of Germany’s elections later this month would yield no results.

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