Germans accuse Turkey over arrest of human rights worker

German Finance Minister Schaeuble attends a news conference in Berlin

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.

Germany is home to three million ethnic Turks, around half of whom are eligible to vote in Turkish elections.

In response Ankara accused Germany of "great political irresponsibility" for suggesting that travel there was no longer safe.

The alleged blacklist has been condemned by top German officials, who said such actions would greatly hamper Germany's investment in Turkey. The government offers such guarantees to insure exports to many countries, but Gabriel said that "you can not advise anyone to invest in a country if there is no longer legal security".

"We're checking all applications", a spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry said without giving further details. In the first four months of 2017, business worth 22 million euros was approved, for navy deliveries and joint projects with other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners. In comments published Friday in the Bild daily, Wolfgang Schaeuble said Turkey is now arresting people arbitrarily and failing to comply with minimum consular standards - a reminder, he added, of "how things used to be in East Germany".

"I want to assure the German business community that German companies aren't subject to any investigations for terrorist financing by Turkish authorities", Reuters cited Simsek as saying.

"When you travelled there (the GDR), you knew, if something happens to you, nobody can help you", said Schaeuble.




After a year of deeply fraught relations between Berlin and Ankara, tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners reached boiling point on Tuesday after the Turkish arrest of German human rights activist Peter Steudtner.

The accelerating pace of mini-crises with Turkey meant that German politicians felt they had no option but to give Ankara food for thought, after months in which they had held back.

Germany's domestic security chief said Turkey had been carrying out ever more covert operations in Germany, especially since a failed coup attempt against Erdogan last July.

In March, German authorities barred Turkish ministers from speaking at mass rallies of expatriates backing the president's referendum campaign.

Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, criticised what he called absurd arrests and arbitrary expropriations after the failed coup a year ago.

Gabriel stressed that Germany still wanted to rebuild relations with its long-time ally, while urging Erdogan's government "to return to European values". Since then, tens of thousands of people have been arrested and more than 100,000 have lost their jobs in Turkey. Mr Erdogan accusedMs Merkel's government of behaving like the Nazis. Worse, however, had been observed when Germany and some prominent European countries granted asylum to G├╝lenists and their sympathizers who fled Turkey in the aftermath of the attempted takeover.

They may have extended to German companies. 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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