Germany to stand by three million Turks in country, German FM says
BERLIN - ReutersGermany will stand by the three million people with Turkish roots living there, its foreign
minister said, offering assurances that they were not Berlin's targets in a rapidly escalating political row with Ankara.
In an open letter published on July 22 in mass-circulation daily Bild, Sigmar Gabriel said Germany had to look after its own but had no quarrel with Turkish people in either country.
"We must protect our citizens," he wrote. "However difficult the political relations between Germany and Turkey, one thing is clear: you, people of Turkish roots in Germany belong here with us, whether you have a German passport or not."
Gabriel's intervention came after his cabinet colleague, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, compared Turkey's actions in detaining six human rights activists, including a German, to the authoritarian former communist East Germany.
"We have always striven for good relations with Turkey, because we know that good relations are important for you (German Turks)," Gabriel added in the letter, which was also published in Turkish.