Turkey, Germany Step Up War of Words

US urged PKK  PYD to change name for legitimacy

"The comments again show the double standards in their approach to the law of those who prevent terrorists being brought to justice while embracing members of terrorist groups who target our country", the Turkish ministry said.

The jailing of Peter Steudtner, who along with Amnesty International's Turkey director and four other activists is accused of aiding an armed terror group, marks a new low point in German-Turkish relations.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel cut short his holiday to deal with the latest rise in tensions with Turkey, whose ability to rekindle Europe's refugee crisis could harm Merkel's prospects in a national election due in September. The latter spat prompted Erdogan to accuse Germany of "committing Nazi practices".

However, the Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Germany of putting those "on trial and German guests, who come to our country as tourists, on the same scale". He also complained that German companies are being accused without evidence of helping terrorists.

The German foreign ministry demanded consular access to its citizen and the release of all the activists. Yet at the same time Germany also denied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's request to land his plane in Berlin after taking flight from last summer's failed coup.

Mr Erdogan cites the need for security after last year's failed coup as the reason for detaining 50,000 people and firing or suspending 150,000 more.

Germany's stance has been driven, at least in part, by a desire to avoid derailing the refugee deal struck past year with Erdoğan, under which Turkish authorities stop refugees from traveling into Europe and in return European governments provide funding to the government in Ankara. The travel sector contributes some $30 billion to the economy in a normal year.

He also said he could not envisage talks on expanding the customs union with Turkey and he issued new travel advice which warned of risks in Turkey for Germans. Moreover, one "can't advise anyone to invest in a country when there is no legal certainty and where companies, completely respectable companies, are presented as terrorists, " Gabriel said.

It added that the relations between the two countries should be conducted based on global norms and principles not by blackmail and threats, urging Germany to understand Turkey's expectations in the fight against terror and security and evaluate the common interests with a strategic vision.

Erdogan's spokesman rejected the suggestion that Germans travelling to Turkey faced any danger.

Furthermore, according to Die Zeit, Turkey released on Wednesday a list of 68 German companies they link to the Philadelphia-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The list includes industry giants Daimler and BASF. "Any German citizen may fall victim" to Turkey's arbitrariness, he noted.

"They should know that Turkey will never bow to blackmail and threats", Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters on Thursday. It was also the second biggest source of Turkish imports, at $21.5 billion.

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