17 September 2017 | 02:39 | FOCUS News Agency
Ankara. Germany has threatened to restrict economic ties with NATO partner Turkey unless Ankara releases German citizens being held under suspicion of being involved in last year’s failed coup, TRT World reports.
Relations between the two countries were strained after Ankara began investigating individuals allegedly linked to the failed coup.
Turkey and Germany are also at odds over Berlin’s refusal to extradite asylum seekers accused of involvement in the failed coup.
The simmering tensions have also seeped into campaigning for the September 24 federal election in Germany.
“We will have to further cut back our joint economic cooperation with Turkey and scrutinise projects,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Passauer Neuen Presse newspaper in an interview when asked how she wants to secure the release of Germans held in Turkey.
Earlier, Merkel, who is is running for a fourth term as Chancellor, said during a television debate that she would seek to end Turkey’s membership talks with the European Union.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by urging German Turks to boycott the main parties in the vote.
Home to some three million people of Turkish descent, Germany has traditionally had good relations with Turkey, which is also a major trade partner and tourist destination for German sun-seekers.
Restricting arms sale
Merkel, whose conservatives are expected to win the election, said on Tuesday that Germany would restrict some arms sales to Turkey.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) who are trailing the conservatives in opinion polls, had earlier said that all major arms exports to Turkey had been put on hold.
Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said the decision would weaken Ankara’s fight against terrorism and makes Europe vulnerable.
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