Germany and Turkey traded barbs and threatened economic retaliation after the detention of a German human-rights activist sent already stormy relations into a downward spiral.

Amid reports that Turkey is blacklisting German firms, Juergen Hardt,  a senior foreign-affairs lawmaker for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, warned that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is alienating investors and said the Turkish economy will suffer as a result.

While a change in Turkish policies can come only “from within,” the European Union and NATO should apply economic and diplomatic pressure to get Turkey to respect human rights, Hardt said on Germany’s ZDF public television on Thursday.

“NATO and the economy, these are the two levers with which Erdogan can possibly be influenced,” said Hardt, the parliamentary foreign-affairs spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc. The Turkish president, said Hardt, “is absolutely irrational from my point of view, he is hurtful to his country.”

Tags: ; ; ; ;