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German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as they address the media after meeting in the Chancellery in Berlin, in April 2016.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as they address the media after meeting in the Chancellery in Berlin, in April 2016.

Merkel Says Time to Rethink Turkey Relations

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since Turkey arrested a Turkish-German journalist in February

Merkel Says Time to Rethink Turkey Relations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it may be time to rethink relations with Turkey, after two more German citizens were detained there.
On Friday, the German Foreign Ministry said they were arrested in the southern resort of Antalya a day before, the BBC reported.
Germany was not officially informed of the two new detentions, which took place at Antalya airport on Thursday, leaving Berlin’s consulate in the coastal city of Izmir to learn of their arrest from “non-state sources”, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr told a news conference.
“We’re trying to establish what they are charged with,” Adebahr said. “We must assume that it’s a political charge, suspicion of terrorism, as with the others.”
Turkey is now holding 12 Germans on what it calls political grounds.
Merkel said that, in most cases, the detentions had “no legal basis” and added that her government would “perhaps have to rethink” its policies towards Turkey.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since Turkey arrested a Turkish-German journalist in February.
Social Democrat Martin Schulz, Merkel’s main challenger in Sept. 24 elections, and other German politicians urged Berlin to issue a formal travel warning for Germans heading to Turkey.
In July, the German Foreign Ministry warned its citizens that they faced arbitrary arrest in Turkey under the state of emergency imposed there after a failed coup last year.
Juergen Hardt, a senior member of Merkel’s conservatives, told Die Welt newspaper that a further tightening of the travel guidance “should be seriously considered”.
Turkey reacted angrily, saying Germany had a “one-sided, distorted approach” that was “unacceptable”.
Cem Ozdemir, leader of the Greens party, told Bild newspaper he could no longer assure anyone would be safe in Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan launched a huge purge of state institutions after rogue military officers tried to oust him a year ago.
More than 50,000 people have been arrested since then, including more than 170 journalists and many opposition politicians, academics and activists.
Merkel said the detentions called for a decisive reaction, and that it was inappropriate to continue talks about expanding the limited customs agreement that Turkey has shared with the European Union since 1995.
The deal currently excludes services, public procurement contracts and farm produce.

 

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