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Two more Germans detained in Turkey

September 1, 2017

The German government is attempting to contact the two German nationals, who have been arrested for what appear to be political reasons. Germany's Left party has urged Berlin to issue a travel warning for Turkey.

Flags of Germany and Turkey flying together
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Charisius

The German consulate in Izmir has been informed of the arrest of the two Germans, the Foreign Ministry said in Berlin on Friday. The airport police in Antalya later confirmed that the arrests had taken place the day before.

"We have to assume that the arrests could be politically motivated," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said.

Turkish authorities are currently holding 55 Germans, tweeted DW's Christoph Strack. At least four of them have dual citizenship.

The two people who have been detained hold German passports only. The German government is trying to establish contact with the detainees in order to provide consular services. 

Read more: 'Erdogan wants to establish Turkey in Germany,' says Cem Özdemir

Long-running tensions

Germany and Turkey are locked into a diplomatic dispute over the ongoing Turkish crackdown on reporters, security forces and the judiciary following the failed coup attempt last summer.

Earlier on Friday, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert called on Ankara to release German citizens, including German-born reporter Deniz Yücel. Friday marks 200 days since Turkish authorities detained Yücel, who had worked as a correspondent for the German Die Welt newspaper.

The German Left party slammed the German government over the latest arrests. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel were jeopardizing the safety of German citizens, said lawmaker Sevim Dagdelen. The leftist politician also urged the German Foreign Ministry to issue a travel warning for people who intend to visit Turkey. Dagdelen, who was born to a Kurdish family, decried Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "hostage-taker."

Merkel: Rethinking relations?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that under the circumstances, she did not think it appropriate to further discussions with Ankara about its participation in a European Union customs union.

"We must react decisively," Merkel told a business event in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, adding that it was "perhaps necessary to rethink" relations with Ankara.

Turkey and the EU have been discussing an expanded customs union, but talks began to slow after Erdogan's crackdown following the failed coup attempt. In December, EU member states agreed that no new chapters relating to Turkey's accession into the EU would be opened until Ankara reversed course.

"I, and we as the German government, do not think that we'll be able, in the coming months, to give a mandate to speak about the customs union as long as the situation remains as it is," Merkel said in a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

dj/ng (epd, dpa, AFP, Reuters)