Germany summons Turkish envoy over pro-Kurdish MP arrests
Germany on Friday summoned Turkey's envoy after Ankara detained almost a dozen lawmakers from the main pro-Kurdish party, warning that a crackdown against terror should not be used as an excuse to silence the opposition.
Berlin: Germany on Friday summoned Turkey's envoy after Ankara detained almost a dozen lawmakers from the main pro-Kurdish party, warning that a crackdown against terror should not be used as an excuse to silence the opposition.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier "summoned Turkey's envoy to the foreign ministry" for talks on the "latest developments in Turkey", said a ministry source.
While Ankara "has the right to counter the threat of terrorism and to deal with the bloody coup attempt through the law, that should not serve as a justification to muzzle the opposition or to put them behind bars," the source said.
Berlin felt it "could not remain silent" given the deep ties between the two countries and its people.
"It is therefore necessary to formally communicate the government's position to the Turkish government," said the source.
The talks between the secretary of state at the foreign ministry and Turkey's charge d'affaires are due to be held later.
Both co-leaders of Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party were detained along with nine other MPs today, dramatically escalating Ankara's crackdown on leading pro-Kurdish politicians in the wake of the July 15 failed military coup.
Critics say that the arrests show that the mass raids have gone well beyond targeting the actual putsch plotters.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the latest detentions of MPs were "highly alarming" and "confirm all international fears over what the decision in May to lift the immunity of hundreds of lawmakers can lead to".
Turkey's parliament had in May adopted a highly controversial bill to lift immunity for dozens of pro-Kurdish and other MPs, sparking domestic and international concern.
Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in the wake of the failed coup, with Germany repeatedly expressing concern over the scope of the crackdown on suspects.
Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of being one of the world's worst countries for harbouring "terrorists", saying Berlin had not responded to requests to hand over suspects from the failed coup.
But Seibert said he "strongly rejects" Erdogan's charge, saying that "Germany obviously does not back terrorism".