Published: Пт, Июля 21, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Germany says European Union aid to Turkey could be halted over arrests

Germany says European Union aid to Turkey could be halted over arrests

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a news conference in Berlin his government had chose to take a new direction with its Turkey policy, after its attempts to resolve political disagreements with Ankara failed.

Gabriel said Germany would review state guarantees for foreign investment in Turkey and urge businesses not to put their money there, and also reconsider its support for billions in European Union financial flows earmarked over coming years for the long-time aspirant to membership of the bloc.

In addition, the German Foreign Minister warned its citizens to be more careful in traveling to Turkey, citing recent detentions of people there, and Ankara's refusal to grant consular access in some cases, in violation of worldwide law.

Turkish pro-coup officers being granted asylum in Germany have also added more strains to the two countries' relations.

Steudtner's arrest added to a growing list of issues that have weighed on German-Turkish relations for over a year, but particularly since the coup attempt in Turkey a year ago.

"We should emphasize the fact that the Turkish people and perhaps also the political friends of Erdogan in the AKP recognize that this is a dead end that their president is treading", Hardt said, referring to Erdogan's party.

Turkey in February arrested, on similar charges, German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel of Die Welt and is holding several other German citizens. Germany is Turkey's largest trading partner, while ethnic Turks make up Germany's largest minority.

"We need our policies towards Turkey to go in a new direction. we can't continue as we have". It said Turkey was Germany's No. 15 export destination and No. 16 source of imports previous year.

"We must be clearer than before so that authorities in Ankara understand that such policies are not without consequences", Gabriel told reporters after interrupting his vacation for consultations with Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders.

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The foreign office's travel warning states that Turkey had breached its worldwide commitments by denying consular access to German citizens on pre-trial arrest.

The Foreign Ministry Statement said: "our relations should not be based on blackmail and threats but on internationally accepted norms and principles".

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

German newspapers Handelsblatt and Bild claimed Thursday that dozens of German companies, including Mercedes owner Daimler AG and BASF SE are accused of supporting terrorism by Turkey.

On 18 July, Eser and five other activists, including German national Peter Steudtner, were remanded in custody pending trial on terrorism charges.

Separately on Thursday, Turkey denounced Germany for its statements demanding the release of Peter Steudtner, a German human rights activist.

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.

The German government declined to comment on the report. 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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