German Halt on Arms Sales to Turkey Weakens Fight on Militancy - Turkish Minister

German Halt on Arms Sales to Turkey Weakens Fight on Militancy - Turkish Minister

 A decision by Germany to put all major arms exports to Turkey on hold weakens Ankara's fight against extremists and makes Europe vulnerable, Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik told reporters on Tuesday (September 12).

Celik was speaking in London after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday (September 11) Berlin had suspended major arms exports due to deteriorating human rights in Turkey and increasingly strained ties between the NATO allies.

Gabriel's comments came after a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Berlin said another German couple was believed to have been detained in Turkey on political charges.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin have come under increased pressure after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan started a crackdown on political opponents after a failed coup last year.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the government accuse Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating a failed military takeover on July 15, 2016, in which at least 232 people were killed, and have called in speeches for his extradition from the United States.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, denies the charges and denounced the coup.

Turkey and Germany are also at odds over Berlin's refusal to extradite asylum seekers Ankara accuses of involvement in the failed coup, while Berlin is demanding the release of roughly a dozen German or Turkish-German citizens who were detained by Turkish authorities on political charges in the past months.