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Merkel Vows to Restrict Trade With Turkey Over Arrests

Merkel Vows to Restrict Trade With Turkey Over ArrestsMerkel Vows to Restrict Trade With Turkey Over Arrests

Germany will have no choice but to restrict its economic ties with Turkey to pressure its NATO partner into releasing German citizens it imprisoned on political grounds, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in remarks published on Saturday.

Relations between the two countries are strained by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on opponents after a failed coup last year. Germany and its partners in the European Union say the crackdown undermines democracy, Reuters reported.

Turkey and Germany are also at odds over Berlin’s refusal to extradite asylum seekers Erdogan accuses of involvement in the botched coup against him.

“We will have to further cut back our joint economic cooperation with Turkey and scrutinize projects,” Merkel told the Passauer Neuen Presse newspaper in an interview when asked how she wants to secure the release of Germans held in Turkey.

The simmering tensions have seeped into campaigning for a federal election in Germany, especially after Erdogan urged German Turks to boycott the main parties in the vote on Sept. 24.

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