Turkey claims Daimler, BASF, and other German companies support terror

Laura Christensen
July 21, 2017

The top German diplomat said that Turkey, having long seen itself as "a member of the European family", had leveled Nazi jibes at Germany.

Gabriel also cast doubt on the future of government export guarantees for German companies' investments in Turkey in light of the threat of "arbitrary expropriations for political reasons".

Idil Eser, the state director of Amnesty International, and five other human rights campaigners were seized this week.

Caught in the crossfires, Germany's BGA exporters signaled the threat over business is real, saying that companies had already halted investment.

However, the Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Germany of putting those "on trial and German guests, who come to our country as tourists, on the same scale". In June, Germany chose to withdraw its troops from Turkey's Incirlik air base and move them to Jordan in protest at the repeated delays that members of the German Bundestag had encountered in trying to visit the facility.

The NATO allies have also clashed over thwarted visits by German lawmakers to German troops stationed at Turkish bases.

"NATO and the economy, these are the two levers with which Erdogan can possibly be influenced", said Hardt, the parliamentary foreign-affairs spokesman for Merkel's Christian Democratic-led bloc.

Ties were further strained this month after Germany barred President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from addressing Turkish community representatives on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, citing security concerns.

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Last week's one-year anniversary was marked with a series of events and stunts, which Mr Erdogan used to rail against opponents and warn citizens there were still traitors in their midst.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin suggested Gabriel's remarks were meant to win votes at national elections in two months.

The ministry said statements by the spokesmen for the German chancellor and foreign ministry constituted "diplomatic rudeness" and said the judiciary can not be instructed or counseled by anyone.

Erdogan's spokesman rejected the suggestion that Germans travelling to Turkey faced any danger.

In comments that threatened broader economic consequences, Gabriel said he could not advise companies to invest in a country without legal certainty where "even completely innocent companies are judged as being close to terrorists".

Die Welt's Istanbul correspondent, who has dual German and Turkish nationality, has also been under arrest since February on charges of spreading terror propaganda for the PKK and inciting hatred. The list included chemicals giant BASF BASFn.DE, which confirmed it was on a list that had been passed to it by German police, but declined to comment on the allegations.

More than once, Germany has thrown a lifeline to Turkey's European Union bid when it appeared founder.

The German minister added that such developments made it "extremely difficult" to proceed with German investment in Turkey. It was also the second biggest source of Turkish imports, at $21.5 billion.

Other reports by My Hot News

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