First Published: 2018-03-06

Germany willing to ease Turkey travel advisory
Tough travel advisory to be revised after Turkish FM visit to Berlin in sign of easing tensions between NATO allies.
Middle East Online

"Turkey wants to return to a very normal relationship"

BERLIN - Germany signalled Tuesday it was open to easing its tough travel advisory for Turkey, in a new sign of thawing ties after a protracted period of tension between the NATO allies.

On a visit to Berlin to attend the ITB world travel trade fair, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists: "Given the ITB fair, it would be very valuable, and that would be my personal request to my friend (German Foreign Minister) Sigmar Gabriel, if the travel advisory could be revised."

In response, Gabriel told the joint press conference that a state of emergency imposed by Turkey after a failed putsch in 2016, as well as the arrests of several German nationals had led Berlin to sharpen its travel advice in July last year.

But ahead of talks between the two diplomats, Gabriel said the issue will be discussed during their meeting.

"We're discussing it and in fact, we constantly update our travel advisories."

"Turkey wants to return to a very normal relationship and that will automatically have consequences for our travel advisories," added Gabriel.

The foreign ministry had in July stepped up its travel advisory for the NATO ally, warning it could no longer guarantee its citizens' safety amid "arbitrary" mass arrests, a step that targeted the tourism sector crucial to Turkey's ailing economy.

The move came at the height of tensions between Berlin and Ankara.

Germany had angered Turkey with its criticism of Ankara'a human rights record amid its crackdown following the failed coup.

But relations have improved after Turkey released several detained German citizens.

Meanwhile, Ankara is seeking the detention and extradition of prominent Syrian Kurdish leader, Saleh Muslim, the former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Asked if Berlin would answer favourably to the request, Gabriel would only say that it was a matter for the justice ministry.


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