Turkish deputy PM condemns remarks by German FM

Germany EU aid to Turkey could be halted over arrests

"Prosecutions like these with little evidence or transparency undermine Turkey's rule of law and the country's obligation to respect individual rights", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday accused Germany of harboring terrorists, comments likely to ratchet up the disagreement between Berlin and Ankara after Turkey jailed some rights activists. Gabriel said that Berlin would also review its support for European Union financial flows to the long-time aspirant to membership of the bloc. The latter spat prompted Erdogan to accuse Germany of "committing Nazi practices".

Last week Turkey asked legislators to postpone a scheduled visit to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation base in Konya, the German Foreign Ministry said, expressing "regret" about the decision.

Relations between Turkey and Germany started worsening previous year when the German parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire "genocide".

This month, Turkey arrested rights activists including Idil Eser, Head of Amnesty International in Turkey and German citizen Peter Steudtner on terrorism charges, which Berlin labelled "absurd". "No one invests in a country.in which the judiciary has been degraded to be a helper of the ruling AKP party", said Juergen Hardt, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing CDU party.

The six rights activists are among tens of thousands of Turks swept up in a crackdown that followed last year's failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Germany's stance has been driven, at least in part, by a desire to avoid derailing the refugee deal struck previous 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.

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The Foreign Ministry issued travel advice which, while short of a formal warning, stated that "people traveling for private or business reasons to Turkey are advised to exercise elevated caution" and to register with the German embassy or consulate even for short stays.

Turkey has reportedly given the list to Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office.

"We need our policies towards Turkey to go in a new direction.we can't continue as we have done", Gabriel told reporters in unusually direct language touching on sensitive commercial matters including corporate investment guarantees.

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

"One can not recommend anyone invest in a country where ... there are examples of expropriations", Gabriel said.

On Wednesday, the newspaper Die Zeit reported that Turkish authorities had several weeks ago handed Berlin a list of 68 German companies they accused of having links to Mr Gulen. Only China, at $25.4 billion, exported more to Turkey. By contrast, Turkish exports to Germany of some $14 billion made it the No. 1 destination for foreign sales, ahead of the U.K., Italy and Iraq.



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