Steer clear Turkey, Germany warns citizens

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German Chancellor, Angel Merkel
German Chancellor, Angel Merkel

(dpa/NAN) German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, on Friday, has warned his nation’s holidaymakers to steer clear of Turkey amid deterioration in relations between Ankara and Berlin.

“You cannot at the moment do this with a clear conscience.

Gabriel said, “as a country we cannot tell people what to do’’ but warned about the risks of arrest in Turkey.

Tensions between Berlin and Ankara worsened last week after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hit out again at Germany and the Turkish authorities moved to extradite Turkish-born German writer Dogan Akhanli, who is an Erdogan critic.

Erdogan said Turkish voters living in Germany should not cast their ballot for any of Germany’s major political parties, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and Gabriel’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) claiming they were “anti-Turkey.’’

Since then, Gabriel and Erdogan have been locked in a war of words, further underscoring the strained diplomatic ties between their two nations.

Ten German citizens are currently imprisoned in Turkey for alleged political acts considered by Ankara to be against the interests of the Turkish state, according to reports which cited information from the German Foreign Office.

In his Bild interview, Gabriel was not optimistic about the prospects of the early release of Germans under arrest in Turkey.

“They are held without any reason.

“You have to get the impression that they are being politically abused in the interests of fomenting nationalism. This is bitter and a great injustice,’’ Gabriel said.

The SPD is the junior member of Merkel’s conservative-led coalition.

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