Turkey denies targeting German firms, says investments guaranteed

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Nihat Zeybekçi

Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi has denied blacklisting German companies and said German investments in Turkey are guaranteed amid increasing political tensions between the two countries.

Zeybekçi’s remarks came on Thursday during an interview with Reuters.

Denying reports in the German media suggesting that Turkey named 68 companies for their alleged support for the faith-based Gülen movement, Zeybekçi said: “The allegation that Turkish authorities gave Germany the names of German companies linked to Gülen is not true. This is fake news.”

Zeybekçi’s statements were confirmed by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım who said the news reports were untrue.

The Die Zeit weekly reported on Wednesday that Turkey shared with Germany’s federal police a list of 68 German companies, including industry giants Daimler and BASF, which they claimed were affiliated with the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating a botched coup last July. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the putsch.

The list names the car maker Daimler and chemical company BASF as backers of terrorism, but also includes a Turkish fast food restaurant and a late-night food store.

The list was sent to German authorities several weeks ago, the newspaper said, recalling that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed to have sent 4,500 files on alleged supporters of the movement to Germany and demanded that they be extradited to Turkey.

“In Berlin, the list is described as ‘absurd’ and ‘ridiculous’,” the weekly added.

After statements from German officials warned their citizens against the risks involved in travelling to Turkey and implied a revision of export guarantees due to lack of “legal security” in Turkey, Zeybekçi said: “All German investments in Turkey are 100 percent under the guarantee of the Turkish government, the state and law.”

The crisis between Turkey and Germany escalated 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 arrested by an İstanbul court on Tuesday.

“The Turkey-Germany crisis is temporary. One must refrain from words that would cause lasting harm to the economies. Germany must reassess comments that are inappropriate,” said Zeybekçi in a bid to improve the strained relations.

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