German minister compares Turkey to former East Germany, to review weapons sale

German minister compares Turkey to former East Germany, to review weapons sale

German minister compares Turkey to former East Germany, to review weapons sale

After a week of a war of words between Turkish and German senior officials, it was good to hear Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci's constructive messages on the Ankara-Berlin ties.

Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu later accused Germany of harbouring members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984, and the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen that Ankara blames for a failed coup last July.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Berlin had shown patience amid rising tensions with Turkey, but "time and again we have been disappointed".

These steps from Germany come in retaliation to Turkey banning German parliamentarians from visiting troops participating in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation operations in Syria and the detention of a German human rights activist for allegedly aiding a terror group.

Relations between Turkey and Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, have been badly strained, particularly since the failed coup attempt a year ago against Erdogan.

Yildirim called for not making "worrying statements" targeting businessmen keen on investing in Turkey.

Germany's finance minister, an influential figure in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party, hinted that it could be worse for Turkey. There has been speculation that Erdogan is using the German detainees essentially as hostages in an attempt to force Berlin to deport Turkish citizens in Germany whom Ankara considers terrorists.

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Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, meanwhile said: "We strongly condemn statements that German citizens who travel to Turkey are not safe and that German companies in Turkey should have hesitations and concerns".

The German government increased pressure on Turkey Thursday 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. "You can never scare us with such things", Erdogan warned.

Germany has also frozen existing arms export projects between the two countries as a preliminary measure.

He accused Erdogan of trying to muzzle "every critical voice" with mass arrests in sweeping crackdowns over the past year.

The information about alleged Turkey's investigation against German companies are lies.

That overhaul "covers all sectors, including defence exports policy", the economy ministry told AFP.

Several German nationals are among those being held and Berlin has warned its citizens that their safety can not be guaranteed in Turkey and that consular access is not assured in case of their arrest. Worse, however, had been observed when Germany and some prominent European countries granted asylum to Gülenists and their sympathizers who fled Turkey in the aftermath of the attempted takeover. "And with this new damage we are forecasting that our export will go down by ten percent and that there will be nearly no new investment stemming from German companies in Turkey". Germany should quit the idea of punishing Turkey through economic sanctions and travel warnings as it should be aware that it would only further damage ties between Turkey and the entire Europe.

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