The diplomatic crisis between Germany and Turkey deepened on Thursday when Germany's foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel told a press conference that it was no longer safe for German people and businesses to travel to Turkey. The announcement was triggered by Turkey's detention of a Germany human rights defender and two German journalists with no credible charges or supporting evidence. Gabriel broke off his summer vacation and returned to Berlin to deal with the crisis that arose out of the arrests, particularly of German human rights activist Peter Steudtner for allegedly aiding a "terror" group.
# Gabriel declared a “re-orientation” of Germany's Turkey policy, and said that the country’s actions show it's “departing from the basis of European values.":
"Steudtner never wrote about Turkey, he had no contacts in the political establishment and never appeared as a critic. One can’t advise anyone to invest in a country when there is no legal certainty and where companies, completely respectable companies, are presented as terrorists. I therefore do not see how, as the government, we can still guarantee German company investments in Turkey if, as has happened, arbitrary expropriations for political reasons have not only been threatened but have already taken place.
German citizens are no longer safe from arbitrary arrests in Turkey. We have no other choice, because we are responsible for the protection of our citizens of our country, but to adapt our travel and safety advisory to Turkey and let Germans know what can happen to them when they travel to Turkey.
We can’t go on as we have before. We have to be clearer than before so that those in charge in Ankara understand that such a policy won’t be without consequences." Deutsche Welle
# Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said:
"We think these are domestic political statements for the upcoming elections in Germany. Unfortunately, this has become fashionable in Germany. People are being anti-Turkey and demonstrating their paranoid animosity against our president to score political points. We are strongly condemning suggestions that German nationals visiting Turkey would not be secure. We think that those unfortunate statements are an investment for internal politics aimed at the approaching elections in Germany.
How come Germany tolerates this? When we talk about them, they respond ‘We have justice and independence.’ Well, why don’t they respect Turkish justice? This is disrespectful to Turkey. They will respect our justice.
There was direct interference in the Turkish judiciary and the comments used overstepped the mark. The comments again show the double standards in their approach to the law of those who prevent terrorists from being brought to justice while embracing members of terrorist groups who target our country." Al Monitor
Germany's actions were triggered by Steudtner's arrest, and also because Turkish authorities had, several weeks ago, handed their German counterparts a list of 68 German companies they accused of having links to Erdogan's enemy Fethullah Gülen.... Hurriyet (Ankara)