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Iran Press TV

Germany vows to overhaul Turkey relations amid tensions

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:2PM

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in Berlin on Thursday that Germany would review state guarantees for foreign investment in Turkey and would urge businesses against putting their money there. Gabriel said that Berlin would also review its support for EU financial flows to the long-time aspirant to membership of the bloc.

Experts say these stinging measures will strongly impact tourism and investment in Turkey.

Gabriel also delivered his unusually strong comments towards Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He accused Erdogan of worsening a crisis that Berlin had repeatedly sought to ease through dialogue. Gabriel also blamed Erdogan for trying to muzzle "every critical voice" with mass arrests in sweeping crackdowns since the failed coup against him just over a year ago.

The top German diplomat said that Turkey, having long seen itself as "a member of the European family," had leveled Nazi jibes at Germany.

Gabriel, however, stressed that Berlin still wanted to rebuild relations with Ankara, while urging Erdogan's administration "to return to European values."

Turkey and Germany have been locked in a number of diplomatic disputes, including Turkey's way of handling the aftermath of a failed coup in July last year, which has sparked massive criticism in Germany.

The row intensified after Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit military personnel at Incirlik Air Base and another base in Konya, located some 50 kilometers south of Turkish capital Ankara.

Turkey's refusal to grant access to German lawmakers came after Berlin blocked visits and speeches by senior Turkish officials to members of Turkish diaspora in Germany ahead of an April referendum in Turkey.

In recent weeks, Turkish authorities have also arrested a member of rights group Amnesty International and several other foreign activists.

Turkey blasts German statements on detained activist

Separately on Thursday, Turkey denounced Germany for its statements demanding the release of Peter Steudtner, a German human rights activist.

In a statement, Turkey's Foreign Ministry described the request as "unacceptable" and an attempt to interfere with the Turkish judiciary.

The statement added that Turkey has kept Germany's charge d'affaires in Ankara informed of Steudtner's case, adding that "the independent Turkish judiciary must be trusted."

According to the statement, there were no impediments to consular access.

A Turkish court detained Steudtner on Tuesday for alleged links to terror groups pending trial.

Ankara has been engaged in suppressing the media, activists and opposition groups, who are believed to have played a role in the failed putsch.

Over 50,000 people have been arrested and some 150,000 others sacked or suspended from a wide range of professions, including soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants, over alleged links with terrorist groups.

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