Turkey's Erdoğan tells Germany to 'pull itself together'
AA photoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged Germany to “pull itself together” on July 21 amid an escalating row between the two countries, also refuting claims that German companies were under investigation in Turkey.
Addressing a July 21 investment meeting in Istanbul, Erdoğan harshly criticized Turkey’s NATO ally for letting the militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) hold demonstrations on its soil.
“This is why Germany should pull itself together. I want to remind my German friends and the entire world: You are not strong enough to defame Turkey and you are never strong enough to scare us with such things,” he said.
The German minister’s remarks aimed at “scaring companies investing in Turkey,” were also strongly condemned by Erdoğan.
He added reports of investigation against German companies were completely false.
“I have asked [the issue] to our National Intelligence Organization [MİT] and our Interior Ministry,” Erdoğan said.
“There isn’t any investigation or inspection on any German companies. These are all lies.”
The Die Zeit newspaper reported this week that Turkish authorities had handed Berlin a list of 68 German companies several weeks ago, including Daimler and BASF and that they were accused of having links to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is believed to have orchestrated last July’s failed coup.
The president also said that a German Foreign Ministry travel warning against Turkey was baseless and malicious and that the German government should give account for “terrorists,” which he said the country was harboring.
The ties between the two NATO allies have been further strained after Turkey arrested a German human rights activist Peter Steudtner last week on charges of attending a meeting on one of Istanbul’s islands.
The arrest followed after Germany had to withdraw its troops from the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to Jordan because the Turkish government did not allow German lawmakers to visit their soldiers.
The Turkish government has sought to stem the economic fall-out from a growing crisis, noting that German investments in Turkey were fully guaranteed both by Ankara and its laws.
“All German investments in Turkey are 100 percent under the guarantee of the Turkish government, the state and law,” Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said in an interview in Ankara late on July 20.
“The Turkey-Germany crisis is temporary. One must refrain from words that would cause lasting harm to the economies. Germany must reassess comments that are inappropriate,” he noted.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also said Turkey was safe for German investors.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said Berlin’s policies toward Turkey should go in a “new direction” and noted that he could not advise companies to invest in a country without legal certainty.
Germany was Turkey’s top export destination in 2016, buying $14 billion worth of Turkish goods, according to IMF data. It was also the second biggest source of Turkish imports, at $21.5 billion. Only China, at $25.4 billion, exported more to Turkey.
Turkey remains committed to improving the investment climate, strengthening the rule of law, enhancing standards of democracy and converging with European Union standards, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said on July 21.
“I want to assure the German business community that German companies aren’t subject to any investigations for terrorist financing by Turkish authorities,” Şimşek said in a statement.