German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said she has not ruled out new measures against Turkey over the detention of German nationals, but hopes that the situation between Berlin and Ankara will not escalate.
“We reserve the right to take further steps… Since the problems are really significant. Especially, in relation to those who had been under investigation during several weeks and without a reason, from our perspective,” Merkel said in an interview with the NDR broadcaster.
The chancellor how did say she was hopeful that tensions between Berlin and Ankara would not continue growing, according to the broadcaster.
Ties between Berlin and Ankara have become tense in recent months after Germany banned Ankara from holding pre-referendum rallies on German soil, and Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit the Incirlik base in southeastern Turkey and meet with German troops. Berlin later decided to withdraw its servicemen from the Turkish base.
The situation grew worse in early July after Ankara detained German human rights activist Peter Steudtner and five other activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director Idil Eser, on allegations of aiding a terrorist group. In response to these measures, Germany vowed to review Berlin’s policy toward Ankara, specifically regarding economic and investment programs.