Serious confidence crisis in German relations recently: Turkish foreign ministry

Jul 21, 2017, 00:38
Serious confidence crisis in German relations recently: Turkish foreign ministry

Gabriel returned to Berlin early from holiday after Turkey arrested six human rights activists, including German Peter Steudtner and the head of Amnesty International in Turkey, on terror-related allegations.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a news conference in Berlin his government had chose to take a new direction with its Turkey policy, after its attempts to resolve political disagreements with Ankara failed.

Amnesty International has openly criticised the crackdown and is calling for the release of Eser and the other activists. The government had exercised "a lot of patience, even if that was not easy", when Erdoğan "accused Germany of behaving like Nazi Germany" because it wanted to avoid "tearing down bridges", he said.

The German foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday called the detentions a "direct Turkish government intervention in judicial proceedings" and Gabriel suggested the arrests were "planned and well prepared in advance".

With its history of receiving Turkish migrant laborers, Germany has had both a closer and a more complex relationship with Turkey since the 1960s than any other European power. More than 6,800 German firms are now operating in Turkey, according to the German-Turkish chamber of commerce. "No one invests in a country.in which the judiciary has been degraded to be a helper of the ruling AKP party", said Juergen Hardt, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing CDU party.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said the rights activists now arrested were involved in a meeting that had the "nature of a continuation" of the coup attempt.

At 22 billion euros ($25 billion) in deliveries of mostly auto parts and chemical products, Turkey ranked in 15th place past year, BGA said.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin suggested Gabriel's remarks were meant to win votes at national elections in two months. "They need to sit down and think of how they can rescue themselves from this brain fade".

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"Foreign ministry sites are not always informed in a timely manner about the detention of German citizens, and access for consular services is not always ensured", it added. The travel sector contributes about $30 billion to the economy in a normal year.

More than once, Germany has thrown a lifeline to Turkey's European Union bid when it appeared founder.

The German government has warned its citizens and firms they face the risk of "arbitrary" arrest in Turkey.

"One can not recommend anyone invest in a country where ... there are examples of expropriations", Gabriel said. He assured that "there is no danger for German citizens traveling to Turkey".

On Wednesday, newspaper Die Zeit said Turkish authorities had several weeks ago handed Berlin a list of 68 German companies they accused of having links to Gulen.

The German minister added that such developments made it "extremely difficult" to proceed with German investment in Turkey.

"They should know that those threats and blackmails will not find correspondence in Turkey", he said, adding that threats over cancelling Customs Union talks and funds did not comply with the standards of global relations.

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