Turkey vows response to German foreign minister's remarks

Turkey vows response to German foreign minister's remarks

Turkey vows response to German foreign minister's remarks

Germany told its citizens on Thursday to exercise caution if travelling to Turkey, with Sigmar Gabriel, foreign minister, warning that his government could no longer guarantee its citizens' safety in the face of "arbitrary" mass arrests.

"We need to be clearer than we have been until now so those responsible in Ankara understand that such policies are not without consequences", Gabriel said. Gabriel also said he doesn't see how the government can continue guaranteeing companies' investments in Turkey in the absence of "legal security" and will have to consider what it does about export guarantees.

"We are still interested in good and trusting relations with the Turkish government", Gabriel said.

The German foreign ministry on Thursday warned its citizens to be more careful in travelling to Turkey, citing recent detentions of people there, and Ankara's refusal to grant consular access in some cases, in violation of global law.

Gabriel also delivered his unusually strong comments towards Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "The situation around (human rights activist Peter) Steudtner shows that German citizens in Turkey can not be protected from arbitrary detention", he stressed.

Martin Schulz, Merkel's challenger in September elections, said Berlin could toughen its security warnings for people who are either in or want to go to Turkey. So far this year, bookings from Germany have accounted for about 10 percent of Turkey's tourists. More than once, Germany has thrown a lifeline to Turkey's European Union bid when it appeared founder.

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

Germany has warned its citizens against travel to Turkey and threatened to deter economic investments in the country amid a deepening rift between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies after Turkey detained a German citizen last week, one of a group of human rights activists arrested.

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Cavusoglu said: "they request that (German citizens) be released at one, they even give a time-frame.in other words, they make requests that snub the independence of the judiciary".

The row intensified after Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit military personnel at Incirlik Air Base and another base in Konya, located some 50 kilometers south of Turkish capital Ankara.

A Turkish court on Tuesday ordered six human rights activists including Amnesty International's Turkey director to remain in custody for allegedly aiding a "terror" group, a charge Schaefer branded "absurd".

Mr Gabriel said the situation also affected how the EU dealt with accession programmes for Turkey and said Germany would speak to European colleagues about that in the coming days and weeks.

Amnesty International's secretary general, Salil Shetty, said the decision to keep six of the activists in detention "shows that truth and justice have become total strangers in Turkey".

The German government declined to comment on the report.

Several weeks ago, Erdogan told Die Zeit weekly that if more German tourists shun the popular holiday destination, Turkey would simply seek to attract more visitors from Russian Federation, now the number two country of origin.

It was also the second biggest source of Turkish imports, at $21.5bn. Only China, at $25.4 billion, exported more to Turkey.

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