Turkey, Germany and the West

21 July, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Turkey, Germany and the West

German companies have either invested in or own 6,000 firms operating in Turkey, generating approximately 60,000 jobs.

Schäfer said German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had interrupted his summer vacation to attend government consultations over the Turkish court's decision to jail Steudtner, a human rights trainer who was taken into custody earlier this month.

Idil Eser, the state director of Amnesty International, and five other human rights campaigners were seized this week.

Relations between Turkey and Germany started worsening past year when the German parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire "genocide".

"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.

Turkish media reports said the six are accused of having been in contact with Kurdish and leftist militants, and suspected members of the movement led by exiled Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen - once President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's close ally, but now at the top of the Turkish government's most-wanted list.

More than 50,000 people have been arrested since the failed coup, including more than 170 journalists and many opposition politicians, academics and activists.

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Turkey blames Gulen and his followers for the failed military coup a year ago, in which over 250 civilians lost their lives in the violence. The travel sector contributes about $30 billion to the economy in a normal year. "I therefore do not see how, as the government, we can still guarantee German company investments in Turkey if, as has happened, arbitrary expropriations for political reasons have not only been threatened but have already taken place". He assured that "there is no danger for German citizens traveling to Turkey".

"One can not recommend anyone invest in a country where ... there are examples of expropriations", Gabriel said.

"We need our policies towards Turkey to go in a new direction. we can't continue as we have done until now", Sigmar Gabriel told reporters at a press conference in Berlin on Thursday.

Die Welt's Istanbul correspondent, who has dual German and Turkish nationality, has also been under arrest since February on charges of spreading terror propaganda for the PKK and inciting hatred.

They included chemicals giant BASF, which confirmed it was on a list that had been passed to it by German police, but declined to comment on the allegations.

Speaking on a visit to Turkish-backed breakaway northern Cyprus, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Berlin that Turkey could hit back at Germany, without giving details.

The German government on Thursday increased pressure on Turkey after the jailing of a human rights activist, telling all citizens traveling there to exercise caution and threatening to withhold backing for German investments in Turkey. By contrast, Turkish exports to Germany of some $14 billion made it the No. 1 destination for foreign sales, ahead of the U.K., Italy then Iraq.

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