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GENOCIDE

German ambassador to Turkey left out in cold

The Turkish government has been giving German ambassador Martin Erdmann the cold shoulder for weeks, after German parliamentarians passed a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide.

German ambassador to Turkey left out in cold
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

At the beginning of June the Bundestag (German parliament) passed the resolution describing the death of over a million Armenians in 1915-16 as genocide by an overwhelming majority.

Ankara argues that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers.

Turkey could barely hide its fury at the vote and immediately recalled its ambassador in Berlin. Shortly after, the Turkish government announced an “action plan” on how to react to the resolution.

Since then Ambassador Erdmann has not been offered a single appointment with the foreign ministry in Ankara or in other parts of the government. His requests for meetings have also gone unanswered.

Lower ranking diplomats have occasionally been offered meetings, but each one needs to be personally approved by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu.

Since the vote, the Turkish government has also refused a senior civil servant in the defence ministry permission to visit German military personnel at Incirlik air base, where they are part of the coalition against Isis.

Relations between Berlin and Ankara are extremely sensitive at the current time. A crude poem written by a German comedian, deliberately insulting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, led to demands from Ankara that the German government take action.

Germany is bound to Ankara by a controversial deal on refugees whereby Turkey has agreed to take back asylum seekers who travel over the Aegean into the EU.

And tensions are currently high among Germany’s 3 million-strong ethnic Turkish population after a coup attempt failed in Ankara earlier in July.

On social media, vicious accusations and counter-accusations have been thrown around among Turkish Germans over alleged sympathies for the plotters.

The government in Berlin is watching with concern, fearing that trouble could spill out onto the streets of German cities.

TRAVEL

Germany lifts travel warning for four Turkish regions

Germany lifted its travel warning for several coastal regions of Turkey on Tuesday, ceding partially to weeks of campaigning by Ankara, whose tourism industry relies heavily on German visitors.

Germany lifts travel warning for four Turkish regions
Beach chairs and umbrellas at a hotel complex in Antalya, Turkey. Photo: DPA

The warning will be lifted with immediate effect for the four coastal provinces of Antalya, Izmir, Aydin and Mugla, government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said in Berlin.

“Turkey has developed a special tourism and hygiene concept for these four regions in order to realise safe tourism under the conditions of the pandemic,” Demmer said.

Turkey will require anyone travelling back to Germany to present a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours before departure.

Turkey had been one of 160 countries outside the European Union and the Schengen area for which a travel warning was in place until August 31st.

In July, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had demanded a review of the travel warning while visiting his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin.

READ ALSO: Can you be forced to take a coronavirus test after returning to Germany from a risk country?

Anyone currently arriving in Germany from areas considered to be at high risk must produce a negative coronavirus test or go into quarantine for 14 days.

Germany, which is home to a large Turkish community, makes up the biggest group of tourists by nationality in Turkey.

In a blow to tourism in Spain, Germany last week added three northern Spanish regions to its list of high-risk destinations.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany's plans for mandatory Covid-19 tests for returning travellers

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