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Gabriel for a persistently tough gauntlet against Turkey

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 | World News

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) assumes that the stiffer gait against Turkey must be continued in the long term. In the interview, he emphasized that the customs union was not an issue "when Turkey treats German prisoners in this way."

In his conversation with the news agency dpa, Gabriel admitted that his new Turkish course, announced a month ago, had not yet improved the situation for the German prisoners in Turkey. "But that was not to be expected either," he said. "I believe we have to go a long way to this new policy and we must not believe it will be done in a few weeks."

After the arrest of the German human rights defender Peter Steudtner the federal government had decided to abandon its moderate course against the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gabriel, among other things, exacerbated the travel instructions and warned German companies against investments.

"The first and most effective response was that they had withdrawn from the list of 680 German companies under terrorism," said Gabriel. But the Turkish government did not let the prisoners know. After the failed coup attempt a year ago, nine Germans were arrested in Turkey, including the journalist Deniz Yücel and the translator Mesale Tolu Corlu. They are accused of supporting terrorists.

Federal government wants to limit funding for investment
Gabriel wants to maintain the pressure now and put the planned expansion of the customs union between the European Union and Turkey on hold. "I can not imagine any further negotiations with the Customs Union when Turkey treats German detainees like that," said the Foreign Minister. In addition, the promotion of the Federal Government for investment and exports is to be limited.

 The interview took place before the case of the German writer Dogan Akhanli, who had been arrested in Spain, became public, and also before Erdogan's recent statements on the dispute with Germany.

On Saturday, the Turkish president again demanded the extradition of 4500 persons, whom he classifies as terrorists. He pointed out that this list had not been accepted by the Federal Government and that instead the release of the imprisoned Germans was demanded. "I'm sorry if they have a judiciary, so we have one here too," Erdogan said.


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