Turkey to Germany: You should think more rationally

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Turkish Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın (Okan Ozer / Anadolu Agency)

Criticizing German Foreign Ministry statements that implied reorienting its Turkey policy, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan İbrahim Kalın has said Germany should think more rationally.

Germany Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday said: “We need our policies towards Turkey to go in a new direction. … We can’t continue as we have done until now.”

Gabriel’s remarks came after six human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s (AI) Turkey Director İdil Eser and German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner, who were detained on July 5 during a workshop at a hotel on İstanbul’s Büyükada, were put in pre-trial detention by an İstanbul court on Tuesday.

“We think these unfortunate statements have to with the approaching elections in Germany. It has become a trend in Germany. Those who see that opposition to Turkey is strengthening their position are capitalizing on it. I believe they should think more rationally,” said Kalın in his statement.

In reaction to the arrest of human rights defenders on terror charges, Gabriel said: “These accusations are obviously unfounded and have simply been dragged out irrationally.”

Gabriel, who said he had been “repeatedly disappointed” even though he tried to improve relations with Turkey and showed patience despite increased tensions, warned German citizens against the risks of travelling to Turkey.

Asking Germany to distinguish between tourists and suspects who are involved in dubious activities, Kalın said: “No one should shake one’s finger at Turkey from Europe. We want to have good relations with Germany, but it has to be mutual. If Europeans think of Turkey’s security as their own security, they’ll do a better job.”

According to Gabriel, Germany is planning to review European Union negotiations with Turkey and will also review export guarantees due to the lack of “legal security” in Turkey.

Germany’s Die Zeit reported that Turkey shared with Germany a list of 68 German companies and individuals who are allegedly supporting the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of mounting a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a claim the movement denies.

The report said German authorities ignored the list, which included industrial giants such as BASF and Daimler, saying it was “absurd.”

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