Erdogan Says Western Agents Roam Freely in Turkey

Recep Tayyip ErdoganRecep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stoked a dispute with NATO ally Germany on Tuesday, warning of western agents “roaming free” in Turkey and telling those who threaten the country with embargoes to be ready for the consequences. Relations between the major trading partners deteriorated after Turkey arrested 10 rights activists, including a German, three weeks ago as part of a wider security crackdown since last year’s failed military coup, Reuters reported.

A Turkish prosecutor has accused them of links to the network of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the attempted coup in July 2016. The US-based Gulen denies any involvement.

“Westerners want their agents to roam freely in our land while they hurt our people,” Erdogan told lawmakers from his AK Party at a meeting in parliament. “Those who say it is the judiciary’s business when it comes to the terrorists they harbor in their own country and turn things into diplomatic crises when we catch their agents red-handed.”

Turkey accuses Germany of sheltering Kurdish and far-leftist militants as well as people linked to the abortive coup. Berlin denies the accusations. Germany has increased pressure on Turkey in the past few days, threatening measures that could hinder German investment there and saying it is reviewing Turkish applications for arms projects.

Ankara has sought to limit fallout from the row, dropping a request for Germany to help it investigate hundreds of German companies it said could have links to terrorism.

Erdogan said German companies investing in Turkey did not face difficulties.

Caption: Recep Tayyip Erdogan


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