Germany reluctant to impose arms embargo on Turkey

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany does not prefer to implement an arms embargo on NATO member Turkey, German newspaper Stimme reported on Tuesday.

Such a move against Ankara is "strategically incorrect," Maas said."Strategically, I don't think that's the right way," said the SPD politician in an interview with the German press agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, according to Stimme. 

“That wouldn't be easy with a NATO partner either. We have already seen before that NATO partner Turkey simply bought them from Russia since it no longer received missiles from the US", he added.

Following a recent conflict with Turkey over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Germany's EU partner Greece formally asked the German government in October to place an arms embargo on Ankara.

The German government restricted arms exports to Turkey when Turkish troops were deployed into northern Syria in Oct. 2019.

Maas said he had abandoned the idea of a diplomatic settlement of the dispute. "Of course, we continue to believe that there will be a solution to the conflict and that we do not have to permanently remove a NATO partner from armaments cooperation", he said.

Last year, Germany issued a limited ban on weapons sales to Turkey for military equipment that could be used in an offensive into northern Syria targeting Kurdish forces.

Germany exported arms worth 243 million euros (268 million dollars) to Turkey in 2018, making up almost one third of all German weapons exports, according to Bild am Sonntag.

Turkey received 344.6 million euros ($389.4 million) worth of weapons in 2019 from Germany, which amounts to more than one third of Germany’s total weapons exports, according to a classified document revealed by the German Press Agency (DPA) and cited by Greek Reporter.