Renewed tensions in German-Turkish relations

Renewed tensions in German-Turkish relations have been triggered by statements from Turkish Interior Minister about the arrests of Germans who are considered supporters of Fethullah Güleyn and visit Turkey for tourism.

“There are people who, in Europe or Germany, take part in demonstrations of a terrorist organization and then come for vacations in Antalya or Bodrum. We have taken measures for them. They will arrive quietly and then they will be arrested upon arrival at the airport.

From now on, it will no longer be so easy to commit treason and then have fun in Turkey,” Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said at a pre-election gathering in the run-up to the municipal elections.

On the part of the German government, Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Adebahr, without mentioning the name of the Turkish minister, rejected Ankara’s threats, saying they were “statements that do not help the current situation.”

The German government “certainly has a very clear position on the PKK, but freedom of expression and assembly is for us a high commodity that we protect and it must be protected,” Ms Adebahr added, pointing out that Turkey’s attitude is being evaluated daily on the basis of the new data, and the German Foreign Ministry’s travel recommendations are constantly updated.

For Berlin, however, the situation is still very tense and because of the decision by the Turkish authorities not to renew the accreditations of German correspondents in the country, including reporters of the second ZDF public television channel and the newspaper “Tagesspiegel”.

“The German government expects that Turkey will soon find a solution to this issue, not only for German journalists but also for other Europeans. Journalists must be free to do their job in Turkey, “said government spokesman Stephen Zeibert.