September 11, 2017
Turkey issues travel warning for visitors to Germany
When German citizens were arrested on trumped-up charges in Turkey, the German foreign ministry was not willing to issue an official travel warning. Turkey, by contrast, has no such qualms, and has now itself issued an official travel warning to its citizens visiting Germany citing anti-Turkish sentiment and racism in Germany.
This has caught the political elite in Berlin by surprise. Angela Merkel made the point that, unlike Turkey, Germany is not arresting foreign journalists. She said on German TV that eleven German citizens were unjustly incarcerated in Turkey. There were similar howls of protests from other German political leaders, including Martin Schulz.
The Turkish foreign ministry warned that Turkish citizens should stay away from political meetings or from engaging in political discussions in Germany, because they could expect xenophobic and racist treatment and verbal attacks. Turkish citizens were also warned to stay away from demonstrations organised by terror organisations, and that are either supported or tolerated by the German government. The ministry also claims that Turkish citizens face discriminatory treatment at the immigration controls of German airports.
Having followed the German-Turkish dispute for some time, we have concluded that Germany - and Merkel in particular - do not have the stomach for a show-down. A travel warning on the part of Germany would not have only been justified, but required since German citizens are facing political persecution. If they cannot issue a travel warning in such a case, when will they do it? The reason, we suspect, is that the German government does not want to risk the sordid money-for-refugees deal they struck with Erdogan, nor to endanger the strong commercial relations between the two countries. Germany's obscene trade surplus restricts its freedom of manoeuvre on foreign policy, because there are always commercial interest that speak against taking any action.