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Germany vows to overhaul Turkey ties as row escalates

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Germany on Thursday vowed stinging measures impacting tourism and investment in Turkey and a full "overhaul" of their troubled relations, signalling its patience has snapped after Ankara's arrests of human rights activists.

The foreign ministry stepped up its travel advisory for the NATO ally, warning it could no longer guarantee its citizens' safety amid "arbitrary" mass arrests, a step set to impact Turkey's crucial tourism sector.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a day after summoning Turkey's ambassador, returned from holidays to Berlin to deliver his unusually strong comments towards President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Relations between Turkey and Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, have been badly strained, particularly since the failed coup attempt a year ago against Erdogan.

Gabriel said Germany would review state guarantees for foreign investment in Turkey and urge businesses against putting their money there, and also review its support for EU financial flows to the long-time aspirant to membership of the bloc.

A Social Democrat, Gabriel made clear he was speaking for the coalition government led by conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and that she had cleared the tough statement before.

He recalled that Turkey, having long seen itself as "a member of the European family", had levelled Nazi jibes at Germany, and accused Erdogan of worsening a crisis that Berlin had repeatedly sought to ease through dialogue.

He accused Erdogan of trying to muzzle "every critical voice" with mass arrests in sweeping crackdowns since the failed coup against him just over a year ago.

Gabriel stressed that Germany still wanted to rebuild relations with its long-time ally, while urging Erdogan's government "to return to European values".

Germany on Thursday vowed stinging measures impacting tourism and investment in Turkey and a full “overhaul” of their troubled relations, signalling its patience has snapped after Ankara’s arrests of human rights activists.

The foreign ministry stepped up its travel advisory for the NATO ally, warning it could no longer guarantee its citizens’ safety amid “arbitrary” mass arrests, a step set to impact Turkey’s crucial tourism sector.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a day after summoning Turkey’s ambassador, returned from holidays to Berlin to deliver his unusually strong comments towards President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Relations between Turkey and Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, have been badly strained, particularly since the failed coup attempt a year ago against Erdogan.

Gabriel said Germany would review state guarantees for foreign investment in Turkey and urge businesses against putting their money there, and also review its support for EU financial flows to the long-time aspirant to membership of the bloc.

A Social Democrat, Gabriel made clear he was speaking for the coalition government led by conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and that she had cleared the tough statement before.

He recalled that Turkey, having long seen itself as “a member of the European family”, had levelled Nazi jibes at Germany, and accused Erdogan of worsening a crisis that Berlin had repeatedly sought to ease through dialogue.

He accused Erdogan of trying to muzzle “every critical voice” with mass arrests in sweeping crackdowns since the failed coup against him just over a year ago.

Gabriel stressed that Germany still wanted to rebuild relations with its long-time ally, while urging Erdogan’s government “to return to European values”.

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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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