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DIPLOMACY >Turkey’s Foreign Ministry issues travel warning to Germany ahead of federal elections

ANKARA

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning on Sept. 9 for its citizens living in Germany and those who will travel to the country, urging them to be cautious and refrain from political discussions ahead of the country’s federal elections later this month.

In a statement issued on its website, the ministry said the political atmosphere in Germany was “under the effect of increasing far-right and even racist discourses” as the election campaign was based on “an anti-Turkey sentiment” and efforts to obstruct its EU accession bid, warning Turkish citizens to “be careful” and keep their composure against “racist and xenophobic slurs.”

“Turkish citizens who live in or who plan to travel to Germany should be cautious and act prudently in cases of possible incidents, behavior or verbal assaults of xenophobia and racism,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“It is worrying that a chancellor-candidate political leader in Germany has recently made statements including clear racist elements and German officials took no measures for it,” it said.

Ankara also said there was “discrimination” against Turks “on the basis of their political views,” which has led to “verbal attacks against some of our citizens.”

It reminded that German authorities had failed to elaborate on past incidents targeting Turks in the country, citing deadly “unexplained” fires, arbitrary questionings at airports and ill-treatment as examples.

The ministry also added that Berlin was “embracing terror organizations,” namely the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have masterminded last year’s failed coup.

“It is advised for our citizens in Germany or planning to visit this country to be even-tempered, keep themselves out of political discussions and absent themselves from rallies held by terrorist groups ahead of the elections,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, senior German politicians on Sept. 10 commented on the travel warning.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Chief of Staff Peter Altmaier, described the warning on Twitter on Sept. 10 as “a bad joke” and added that “Nazi comparisons offend our honor!”

“Fact is: it’s in Turkey, not here, that journalists who speak their opinion are jailed,” Tweeted Martin Schulz Merkel’s election challenger.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin had recently been at odds over a number of issues, particularly in the wake of the July 2016 failed coup.

Three weeks before the Sept. 24 general elections, the German Chancellor had said during a televised election debate that she would seek an end to Turkey’s membership talks with the European Union.

Before that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had urged Turks in the country not to vote for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD) or the Greens, as they were “enemies of Turkey.”

September/09/2017

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