17 October 2018

Turkish deputy PM condemns remarks by German FM

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Turkey’s newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag on Thursday called a recent statement by the German foreign minister “unacceptable”. reports citing AA.

Earlier on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a news conference that Berlin will not encourage German businessmen to invest in Turkey, nor will it provide investment guarantees to German companies.

Reacting to the statement, Akdag told journalists at the airport in Turkish city Erzurum, “Germans are making a mistake. I hope they give up this policy.”

Germany’s top diplomat also said Berlin would discuss with its European partners whether or not to stop the flow of EU pre-accession funds to Turkey.

He added that Germany had issued a warning for its citizens traveling to Turkey, as they could face legal problems during their visits.

Gabriel has been under pressure by opposition parties ahead of the general elections in September, to adopt a harsher tone against Turkey, particularly due to recent arrests of a number of German citizens by Turkish authorities for alleged support for terrorist organizations.

A Turkish court on Tuesday remanded in custody a German national, Peter Steudtner, on charges of aiding an armed terrorist organization.

German news agency 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.

Turkish officials have repeatedly underlined that the country’s judiciary is independent, and that political influence on legal procedures was out of question.

Strained ties

Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in recent months as Turkish leaders slammed Germany for turning a blind eye to the activities of outlawed groups and terrorist organizations which are hostile to Turkey.

Despite repeated requests by Ankara to arrest suspects in last July's defeated coup attempt in Turkey, German authorities have turned down extradition requests.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which organized the foiled coup bid, runs dozens of private schools, businesses and media organizations in Germany.

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

Apart from FETO, the terrorist PKK group also has a large network in Germany and carries out significant propaganda, recruitment and funding activities from there.

The group has nearly 14,000 followers in the country, according to the BfV, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

While Turkish leaders have slammed the German authorities for not showing solidarity in the fight against terrorism, German politicians have criticized Turkey over human rights and press-freedom issues.

Ties were further strained this month after Germany barred President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from addressing Turkish community representatives on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, citing security concerns.

Last week, Ankara postponed a planned visit by a group of German lawmakers to a NATO base in Turkey's central Konya province, saying that such a meeting was not politically appropriate at this time.

2017.07.20 / 21:59
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