Germany Issues Warning to Citizens Traveling to Turkey

The warning comes as another German citizen is being held on terrorism charges.

On Thursday, Germany’s foreign minister announced a significant “reorientation” of its policy towards Turkey.

“We need our policies towards Turkey to go in a new direction … we can’t continue as we have done until now,” Sigmar Gabriel told reporters at a press conference in Berlin. “We need to be clearer than we have been until now so those responsible in Ankara understand that such policies are not without consequences.”

 

The announcement also highlights the increasingly strained relations between the two countries.

Six people are awaiting trial in Turkey for allegedly aiding a terror group. They include German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner and Amnesty International’s country director, Idil Eser,

German chancellor, Angela Merkel, views the series of measures announced by Gabriel as “necessary and unavoidable”, her spokesman said in a tweet.

Other motivating factors?

As tensions rise, some political figures in Germany are accusing Turkey of gathering “political hostages”. They believe this is in an attempt to force Germany to hand over two Turkish generals involved in last year’s failed coup. The men have applied for asylum in Germany.

“Deniz Yücel and Peter Steudtner are being traded as political hostages,” said German Green party co-chair Cem Özdemir. “The government must no longer be ordered around.”

A spokesperson at the German foreign office on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a swap deal.

The foreign office’s travel warning states that Turkey had breached its international commitments by denying consular access to German citizens on pre-trial arrest. People travelling to Turkey even for short trips are being advised to register themselves with the consulate or embassy ahead of their travel.

Turkey has described Germany’s demand for the release of human rights activist Steudtner as unacceptable and an attempt to interfere with the Turkish judiciary.

 

The foreign ministry accused Germany of a “double standard”, saying it harbors members of terror groups and prevents their trial.

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