German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that following the most recent detentions of German nationals in Turkey for political reasons, her country might reconsider its relations with Turkey.
According to Merkel, there is no legal basis for the detention of German nationals in Turkey. “That’s why we need to react decisively here,” she said, adding that the government would “perhaps have to rethink” its relations with Turkey.
Earlier, Germany had signaled that there would be no extension of Turkey’s participation in a customs union with the European Union amid issues of democracy in Turkey.
In the run-up to the elections in Germany, the opposition parties urged Merkel to issue an official travel warning for Turkey. Most recently, the German foreign minister said Germans could be arrested in Turkey even during a vacation on the grounds that the owner of the hotel in which they are staying is accused of ties to the Gülen movement.
Turkey has been undertaking a massive purge against real and perceived supporters of the Gülen movement.
Against such a backdrop, Merkel indicated a change of tone with Turkey during a business event in the southern city of Nuremberg, noting that Germany had already fundamentally revamped its relations with Ankara. “Given the latest events, perhaps it is necessary to rethink them ever further,” she said.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long been accusing Germany of harboring terrorists, while the pro-Erdoğan media claim that Germany is working systematically to undermine the development of Turkey. Germany hosts around 3 million immigrants of Turkish descent.
Turkey is a popular vacation destination for German tourists.