BERLIN, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Germany’s caretaker government has decided to put on hold any decision on upgrading German-made Leopard tanks in Turkey as requested by its NATO ally Ankara.
A government spokesman confirmed a report by Der Spiegel magazine that conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel from the centre-left Social Democrats had agreed Berlin would not decide on the Turkish request before both blocs had sealed a new coalition deal.
Germany is the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, but weapons sales remain a domestically sensitive issue given the country’s World War Two history. The debate has been fuelled by a Turkish offensive in northern Syria in which Turkey, a NATO member, has been using German-made Leopard 2 tanks. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber and Andreas Rinke; Editing by Paul Carrel)