German MPs to visit North Atlantic Treaty Organisation airbase in Turkey

Marsha Scott
September 11, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has brushed aside Turkey's warnings to citizens about traveling to Germany, saying Turks arriving in the western European country would be much safer that Germans traveling to Turkey.

Turkey began formal accession talks to join the European Union in 2005, however, negotiations were halted in 2016 amid criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on political opponents and the issue of Cyprus.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin deteriorated sharply after the coup attempt, which was followed by the crackdown in Turkey during which over 50,000 people have been arrested, including German citizens.

The ministry said the country has been "for a while under the influence of increasing far-right and even racist rhetoric". Ankara also said there was "discrimination" against Turks "on the basis of their political views", which has led to "verbal attacks against some of our citizens".

"Germany holds a general election this month".

Merkel on Sunday provoked a wave of anger in Turkey and claims of German "populism" after she said she would seek to end talks on Ankara's accession to the European Union.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves during an election campaign rally in Mainz Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves during an election campaign rally in Mainz Germany

In its travel advisory, Turkey told its citizens that Germany welcomes terrorist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the network of the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey, EU and the U.S. consider to be the PKK to be a terrorist organisation which has conducted a decades-long armed campaign against Turkish state. He was arrested in Istanbul in February over alleged links to terrorist organizations and propaganda, an accusation which Yucel and the German government reject.

"We expressly welcome the fact that this visit could take place", German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said earlier on Friday.

In turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that a possible withdrawal of the German Air Force contingent from the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey poses no problem for Ankara. Berlin has been critical of Turkey's handling of the aftermaths of the coup, which has seen more than 150,000 people jailed or discharged from their jobs. Scores of journalists are in jail and media houses have been shuttered.

Despite all this, Turkey and Europe a year ago reached a deal on stemming migration flows from Turkey to the continent, highlighting the importance of the often frayed partnership.

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Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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