TURKEY

Germany suspending arms exports to Turkey will hurt anti-terror fight, EU Min. Çelik says

GERMANY SUSPENDING ARMS EXPORTS TO TURKEY WILL HURT ANTI-TERROR FIGHT, EU MIN. ÇELIK SAYS

Germany putting arms exports to Turkey on hold will seriously damage fight against anti-terrorism, which will in turn pose threat to Europe's security, EU Minister Ömer Çelik said Tuesday, shortly after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced Berlin's decision.

Speaking to reporters in London, Çelik said that Turkey effectively fights terrorist groups to not only protect its own borders, but also Europe's.

"This [To put arms exports to Turkey on hold] will weaken Turkey's anti-terror fight, which will in turn pose a threat to Germany and Europe's security" Çelik said.

Çelik said that Gabriel has to be more careful when he makes such remarks.

"What does Turkey use these weapons for? It uses these weapons in counterterrorism, in fight against Daesh and the PKK. As such, these comments [Sigmar Gabriel's comments] directly weaken Turkey's counterterrorism efforts."

"Terror groups such as Daesh and the PKK are now active across EU capitals. This should not be forgotten: With this effective struggle Turkey is protecting its borders. However, at the same time it protects security and borders of the EU," Çelik said.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced Monday that his country put most arms exports to Turkey on hold amid ongoing tensions between the two countries.

Ties between Turkey and Germany have been strained since last year, as Turkish leaders slammed Germany for not showing strong solidarity with Ankara against the July 15 coup attempt, and for turning a blind eye to the continued activities of FETÖ in the country.

Ankara has singled out Germany among European countries for embracing some 250 fugitive diplomats and soldiers accused of involvement in the coup with suspected links to FETÖ. A report titled "The FETÖ Settlement in Germany and Germany's FETÖ Policy," says that FETÖ has been using Germany as its main functioning center and that German authorities have embraced the structures of the group with open arms.

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