Turkey formally withdrew a list of nearly 700 German businesses it had accused of having ties to terrorism, attributing the charges to a misunderstanding, a German government spokesman said on Monday.
Turkey lodged a complaint with Interpol in May against 681 German companies with Turkish operations, including German corporate giants like Daimler and BASF. The Turkish government claimed the businesses may be financing groups linked to terror organizations.
German newspaper Die Zeit reported last week that Turkey gave Germany a separate list claiming 68 German businesses operating in Turkey were associated with supporters of opposition figure Fethullah Gülen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused Gülen, a Turkish cleric based in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, of inciting last summer’s failed coup. The list provided to the German government included businesses of all sizes, ranging from corporate behemoths like Daimler to a doner kebab stall in western Germany.
But in a phone call Monday with German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, his Turkish counterpart, Süleyman Soylu, said that Turkey had formally withdrawn its Interpol request. Soylu attributed the charges to a “communication problem,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said in Berlin, according to Reuters.
Plate said de Maizière underscored that there were no ongoing investigations of German firms over Ankara’s earlier accusations. German federal police declined to investigate the charges on Friday, citing a lack of credible evidence to merit an investigation.
The withdrawal of charges may help mend the strained relationship between the two NATO member countries. Diplomatic ties between Germany and Turkey have deteriorated in recent months, with a sharp escalation in rhetoric in recent days.
The arrest of a German human rights activist in Turkey last week met with a harsh response in Berlin, with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel saying relations with Turkey “can’t go on as before.” Berlin summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Germany over the incident.