Germany has halted all major weapons exports to Turkey as tensions between the two NATO-member states are escalating.

“We have put on hold all big requests (for arms exports) that Turkey has sent to us, and these are really not a few,” Reuters cited German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel as saying on Monday.

 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.

Gabriel noted that Berlin was generally obliged to send arms to its NATO partner, but due to the situation in Turkey such measures are being put on hold.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to push EU members to consider ending Turkey’s accession talks, saying Ankara has been abandoning the rule of law.

Earlier in the month, Merkel censured Turkey’s move to arrest two more German citizens after Berlin announced that two more German nationals had been held in Turkey “for political reasons.”

German-Turkish relations deteriorated after Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit military personnel at the Incirlik Air Base and another base in Konya in Turkey earlier this year.

Germany had earlier blocked visits and speeches by senior Turkish officials to members of the Turkish diaspora in Berlin ahead of an April referendum in Turkey over the constitutional reforms.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently called on the Turkish population in Germany to vote against Merkel in the upcoming German elections.

Turkey also says Germany has granted asylum to officers who were allegedly behind the 2016 failed coup in the country.

Turkey has been trying to accede to the EU since the late 1980s. Formal accession talks began in 2005. The EU has opened 16 out of the 35 chapters required for Turkey to join the 28-nation bloc, but only one of them has so far been concluded.

The talks have effectively been halted since Turkey began a massive crackdown on supposed putschists following an abortive coup in 2016. The EU reacted strongly to Ankara’s purging of thousands of people from organizations and institutions over alleged links to the coup attempt.

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