Germany says it is rethinking its policies toward Turkey following the arrest of a German human-rights activist for his alleged terrorist activity, marking a new low in relations between the two countries.
“We want Turkey to be a part of the West, or at least remain in its current position, but it takes two to tango,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday in Berlin. “I cannot make out any willingness on the part of the current Turkish government to follow this path with us. For that reason Germany is forced to reorient its Turkey policy.”
The first consequence of that reorientation, Gabriel said, was a new travel advisory for German citizens who visit Turkey, warning of “risks” and urging “heightened caution” because, the advisory said, detained Germans had been “restricted in violation of the obligations of international law,” and denied consular access. Germany also warned its businesses it can’t ensure their investments in Turkey are safe after Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government accused major German conglomerates of ties to Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based cleric whom the Turkish president regards as the mastermind behind last year’s coup attempt against him. Since that time, Erdogan has cracked down on dissent inside his country, targeting the media, educational institutions, and even the civil service and courts, jailing tens of thousands of people for their alleged links to Gulen.