According to him, the official announcement of a “reorientation” of Germany’s policy towards Turkey marks a further deterioration of relations between the two countries that have been under increasing strain for months now because of Ankara’s drift to authoritarianism. “The fact that the Turkish ambassador has been summoned to the Foreign Office – an unprecedented act among what officially are allies – is testimony to that. Other actions may follow – including the possibility of European sanctions and the suspension of negotiations on expanding the customs union between Turkey and the EU,” Novy said.
In his words, German politicians have until now tread a thin line between criticizing Turkey’s policies and human rights record (notably the arrests of journalists, human rights defenders and regime critics) while at the same time trying to avoid escalation with its fellow NATO member. ”Now the gloves are off and Germany plays what is arguably its strongest hand: Economics. The announcement to reconsider economic aid and export credit guarantees as well as travel warnings of risks in Turkey for German tourists send a strong signal to a country that is heavily reliant on trade with Germany and tourism,” he concluded.
Earlier, German FM Sigmar Gabriel announced that the German Government aims to reconsider its course towards Turkey. The head of the agency noted that the conditions of providing loans and economic support to Turkey, as well as Berlin’s efforts towards preparing Ankara to joining the EU will be reconsidered. The German MFA will also toughen the security recommendations for Germans wishing to leave for Turkey. This decision has already been approved by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The reason behind this was the arrest of German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner. Five of his colleagues, including head of Turkish representation of Amnesty International İdil Eser, were detained together with him.