Germany has frozen all major arms exports to Turkey, the country’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday explaining that the decision was made due to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and increasingly strained ties to its NATO ally.
“We have put on hold all big requests (for arms exports) that Turkey has sent to us, and these are really not a few,” the minister said during a panel discussion organized by German business daily Handelsblatt.
He added that Germany is obliged to send arms to a NATO ally, if requested. However, this is currently not possible.
On Tuesday, Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister, Omer Celic, responded to Germany’s decision.
“This decision will weaken Turkey’s fight against terrorism, and weakening the Turkish fight would mean making Europe’s future more vulnerable,” he said. “Germany must leave security issues out of political discussions.”
He added that “must formulate his comments seriously” saying that the supplied arms “are being used in the struggle against the PKK and ISIS.”
Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been deteorating since 2016 over a number of issues, including the ongoing migration crisis in the EU, human rights violations in Turkey and Ankara’s cooperation with Russia.