German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass has turned down Greece’s request to impose an arms embargo on Turkey amid the ongoing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
"I do not find the demand of an arms embargo against Turkey strategically correct. It is not easy to do this against a NATO partner," Haas told the German Press Agency (dpa) on Dec. 21.
"We saw that NATO ally Turkey easily bought missiles from Russia because it could not buy from the U.S.,” he said, referring to the S-400 missile defense systems that Ankara purchased despite Washington's objections.
Sharing his hopes that the dispute in the eastern Mediterranean could be solved through diplomatic channels, Maas said: "Of course, we continue to believe that there is a solution to the conflict and that we do not have to permanently remove a NATO partner from the arms cooperation."
Greece called for an EU arms embargo on Turkey due to recent tensions in the eastern Mediterranean ahead of the EU leaders summit on Dec. 10-11. But a majority of the European leaders opposed the idea of an arms embargo or economic sanctions, opting instead for a softer line.
Greece and Turkey have long-running tensions, ranging from the divided island of Cyprus to exploration rights in the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea. Tensions flared in August when Turkey sent a seismic exploration vessel into waters claimed by Greece.