nsnbc : Germany has put all major arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating human rights situation and increasingly strained bilateral tes between the two NATO members, said German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Monday, September 11.
Sigmar Gabriel’s remarks came after a German Foreign Ministry spokesman in the capital Berlin said yet another German couple was believed to have been detained in Turkey on political charges. During a panel discussion organized by the German business daily Handelsblatt, Gabriel said “We have put on hold all big requests [for arms exports] that Turkey has sent us and these are really not a few.”
In November 2016 German defense manufacturer Heckler & Koch (H&K) already questioned whether the company would deliver more weapons to Turkey. H&K, in 2016, mulled the stop of arms exports to Turkey as the company planned to rebrand its image and limit exports to other NATO member States and other “solid states”.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is a senior member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), who are a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrat (CDU) led coalition.
Gabriel would modify his statement when he said Germany was “obliged” to send arms to another NATO country “if requested”, and them re-modified his statement when he said that this was currently not possible because nearly all arms exports to Turkey had been put on ice”. Gabriel explained that there were only a few exemptions, such as if the government’s decision was tied to international agreements or if the requested exports were about vehicles, not weapons.
The relationship between the two NATO members deteriorated rapidly when Germany would not cave in to Ankara’s “demands” to prohibit Kurdish demonstrations in Germany and demands from the AKP government to allow “elected Turkish officials” to participate in rallies up to the referendum on constitutional change that saw an executive presidential system introduced in Turkey.
Germany blasts Turkey for systemic human rights abuses including arrests of elected officials and arrests of German citizens in Turkey on what Berlin claims are political charges. Reports that Turkey launched an investigation into 700 German firms, including giants Daimler and BASF, added further fuel to the tension, with Berlin considering whether or not to impose economic sanctions on Ankara.
CH/L – nsnbc 12.09.2017