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German refusals for arms exports to Turkey spike in past months – report

BERLIN Germany has rejected an unusually high number of requests for arms exports to Turkey in recent months due to mounting concerns about deteriorating human rights in the NATO country, the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday.

The report cited an economy ministry written response to a question by leftist lawmaker Jan van Aken, in which the ministry said it had rejected 11 requests for arms exports to Turkey since November.

That represented a sharp rise in refusals when compared with the eight rejections recorded in total between 2010 and 2015, according to the newspaper.

An economy ministry spokesman could not immediately be reached by telephone.

Germany and other European countries have criticised Turkey’s crackdown on alleged dissenters in the wake of July’s failed coup, and in past weeks expressed concern at planned reforms that would hand Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greater powers.

As relations between the NATO allies sour, Turkey on Sunday accused Germany of supporting the network of a U.S.-based Muslim cleric it blames for last year’s aborted putsch.

Among the recently rejected requests were products such as handguns, ammunition and parts needed in weapons production, the report said.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Richard Lough)