GERMANY VS TURKEY
GERMANY-TURKEY TENSIONS RISE FOLLOWING ARREST OF HUMAN RIGHT ACTIVISTS
Germany told its citizens on July 20 to exercise caution if traveling to Turkey and threatened measures that could hinder German investment there. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel highlighted alarm at what Berlin sees as the growing unpredictability of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Everyone can be affected. The most absurd things are possible,” he said in advice to travelers.
Gabriel broke off his holiday to deal with the crisis after Turkey arrested six human rights activists including German national Peter Steudtner on accusations of terrorism, the latest in a series of diplomatic rows. Germany, Turkey’s chief export partner, called the allegations absurd. “We need our policies towards Turkey to go in a new direction... we can’t continue as we have done,” Gabriel told reporters in unusually direct language touching on sensitive commercial matters including corporate investment guarantees.
Erdogan: Germany “threats” don’t scare us
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 21 told Germany it cannot scare Ankara with threats, in an escalating row over a wave of arrests that prompted Berlin to step up warnings to German tourists and investors. “They cannot scare us with these threats, they should know this,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul, also responding to criticism saying Turkish courts were “more independent” than German ones. “Germany should sort itself out,” he added.
Turkey denies claims of German firms under investigation by authorities
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on July 21 denied claims that 68 German firms in Turkey were under investigation. Yildirim made the remarks in response to Gabriel’s statement made a day earlier that Berlin would not encourage German businessmen to invest in Turkey, nor would it provide investment guarantees to German companies. Speaking to journalists in Ankara, the premier said: “These companies are owned by German individuals, but they are [run by] Turks. Some of them have been in operating in Turkey for over half a century.”