German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday that Germany has halted major arms sales to Turkey due to the worsening human rights situation in Turkey and the strained relations between the two NATO allies.
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.
While Berlin has to send arms to a NATO ally when requested, it is not possible under current circumstances except when the request concerns vehicles and when there is an international agreement, added Gabriel.
Ankara’s ties with Berlin deteriorated rapidly especially after a failed coup last year since Turkey accused Germany of harboring people linked to the Gülen movement who fled a government witch-hunt back home.
The ties became further strained after Turkey put several German citizens, including journalists and human rights defenders, in pretrial detention. At least 12 German nationals are currently being held in Turkish jails, the victims of politically motivated detentions.