Gabriel’s comments came after German media revealed that Berlin still sells sophisticated weapons and ammunition worth millions of euros to its long-standing 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,” Gabriel said during a panel discussion organized by ‘Handelsblatt’ newspaper, as cited by Reuters.
Berlin is aware of its obligation to send arms to its NATO ally if requested, Gabriel said. However, he added, this was currently not possible, with some exceptions such as exports of vehicles.
Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik reacted to Sigmar’s statement later on Tuesday, saying that Germany’s decision compromises Turkey’s efforts to combat terrorism.
“This decision will weaken Turkey’s fight against terrorism, and weakening the Turkish fight would mean making Europe’s future more vulnerable. Germany must leave security issues out of political discussions,” Celik said, as cited by Reuters.
“The German foreign minister must formulate his comments seriously. Those arms are being used in the struggle against PKK and ISIS (Islamic State, also known as IS, ISIL),” Celik concluded. PKK or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey and the US.
Earlier a report in German media that revealed that though heated exchanges between leaders in Ankara and Berlin make headlines in Europe and elsewhere, it appears that vibrant German-Turkish arms sales still continue.
This year alone, Germany approved arms sales to Turkey worth €25.36 million ($30.31 million), according to the Economy Ministry’s response to a Green Party MP Özcan Mutlu obtained by DPA news agency. In the first half of 2016, Berlin gave the green light to 158 weapons deals worth €69 million ($82 million), the news agency said, according to ‘Handelsblatt’ daily.