Germany warns Turkey of reprisals over refusal to free activist

21 July, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Jeannette Greene
  • Germany warns Turkey of reprisals over refusal to free activist

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he also can't see how the German government can continue to guarantee German companies' investments in Turkey in light of the threat of "arbitrary expropriations for political reasons".

Earlier, Gabriel cast doubt on Turkey's aspirations to join the EU.

He described Gabriel's comments as "ill-tempered" and said his German counterpart's comments do not comply with norms of worldwide relations.

It is extremely hard for German companies to make investments in Turkey under the current political climate in the country, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said on Thursday.

Before that, Turkey accused Germany and other European nations such as Greece of providing shelter to those who took part in the failed military coup in Turkey previous year.

The move prompted Germany to summon the Turkish ambassador to Berlin and raise the possibility of suspending aid sent to Turkey.

Berlin on Wednesday summoned Turkey's ambassador over the detention of a German human rights activist and issued a fresh warning about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner's respect for the rule of law.

Steudtner "is not a Turkey expert, he may even have been in Turkey for the first time. he has neither written, spoken or published about Turkey nor does he have close contacts to Turkish politicians, the opposition or society", Gabriel said. Twenty-two German citizens have been taken into custody in the ensuing crackdown. "We have no other choice - because we are responsible for the protection of the citizens of our country - but to adapt our travel and safety advisory to Turkey and let Germans know what can happen to them when they travel to Turkey".

Relations between Germany and Turkey are increasingly strained.

The immediate trigger of Germany's anger was a Turkish court's decision July 18 to jail Steudtner and other activists, including Amnesty International's Turkey director and a Swedish IT trainer, who were detained in a July 5 security raid on a hotel on the island of Buyukada, where they were attending a digital-security workshop.

"Turkey turning away from Europe is not in Germany's or Europe's interest", he said.

In its statement, Germany's BGA exporters association added that "we must expect significant declines in exports if the measures under consideration are implemented" but that would not pose a major problem for German foreign trade as a whole.

He added that Germany also wants to discuss pre-accession funding to Turkey from the European Union.

Since the coup attempt, almost 4,000 FETO suspects have come to Germany from Turkey and other countries, according to local media reports.

Germany on Thursday announced it was considering pulling back from investments in Turkey as part of a range of steps in response to Ankara's refusal to address concerns about the imprisonment of a German human rights activist.

"The comments again show the double standards in their approach to the law of those who prevent terrorists being brought to justice while embracing members of terrorist groups which target our country", the ministry said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, described the terror accusations as "a transparent attempt to discredit and criminalize dissenters".

Turkey's foreign minister has accused Germany of engaging in "blackmail and threats" against Turkey and says Ankara would reciprocate those threats.

The foreign ministry had issued a separate statement calling for the rapid release of the six activists.


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