Ankara’s submission of German firms list due to ‘communications problem’

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Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ gives a speech during a press conference as the cabinet meeting continues in Ankara, Turkey on July 24, 2017. Mehmet Murat Onel / Anadolu Agency

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Monday said Turkey’s submission to Interpol of a list of around 700 German companies suspected of funding terrorism was caused by a “communications problem.”

Turkey had only asked Interpol for information about the export and import of 140 Turkish companies that are allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a botched coup attempt last July, Bozdağ said.

Germany said Turkey had informed it on Monday that it had dropped accusations of “terrorism” funding against nearly 700 German companies amid an escalating dispute between the NATO partners.

A spokesman for the German interior ministry said his Turkish counterpart had contacted him about the allegations leveled against nearly 700 German firms including industry giants Daimler and BASF.

The spokesman, Tobias Plate, said Berlin had been told that the list of companies with Turkish operations being investigated for “financing of terrorism” lodged with Interpol in May had been withdrawn, saying the suspicion had been based on a “communications problem.”

German newspaper Die Zeit reported last week that Turkey had handed Germany a list of 68 companies and individuals suspected of links to terrorism due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday denied the claims, saying the reports were “black propaganda” aimed at pressuring German companies not to invest in Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım had also dismissed the report as “entirely a lie” and urged Berlin to resolve an escalating crisis through dialogue.

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