Author: SAIM SAEED
Germany “reserves the right” to impose an entry ban on Turkish politicians, but would only do so as a “last resort,” according to Angela Merkel’s Chief of Staff Peter Altmaier in an interview published Wednesday.
Altmaier’s intervention is the latest in a diplomatic spat between EU countries and Turkey. Last week some German cities canceled rallies scheduled by Turkish cabinet ministers to drum up support for a planned constitutional referendum in Turkey next month. In response to the cancelations, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Germany of conducting “Nazi practices” before leveling similar accusations towards the Netherlands after a scheduled rally in Rotterdam Saturday was also canceled.
Speaking to the Berliner Morgenposten, Altmaier said, “Turkey is always keen to ensure that its honor is not violated. Germany also has honor.”
Altmaier said the fact that the federal government has not yet approved a blanket ban on visiting politicians doesn’t give Turkey “a free choice for the future.” He said that the German government “will look very closely at what is responsible [speech] and what is not.”
Turkey has threatened to pull out of its deal with the EU on preventing migrants from crossing the Mediterranean into Greece, and has barred the Dutch ambassador from re-entering Turkey.
Despite threats to freeze diplomatic relations, Turkish minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik made assurances that Dutch investment in Turkey is not at risk.
In an interview with Reuters, published Wednesday, Çelik said Ankara was making a call to businesses worldwide that Turkey was a safe country for investment. “Dutch businessmen who invest, have businesses and create employment in Turkey are included in this [call]. They are definitely not part of the crisis,” he said.