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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a top candidate of the Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU) for the upcoming general elections, talks to supporters as she campaigns in Strasburg, Germany, September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch


BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday rejected a total ban on arms exports to NATO partner Turkey, saying that such sales had already been restricted somewhat, but Turkey remained a key ally in the fight against Islamic State.

Merkel's comments came a day after Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Berlin had put most arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and increasingly strained ties.

Merkel told broadcaster NDR that Germany would decide on arms sales requests from Turkey on a case-by-case basis. She also said she saw no reason to impose a travel warning for Germans travelling to Turkey, but said Berlin would keep its options open.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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