Turkish president blasts German economy minister’s remarks 'aimed at frightening companies investing' in Turkey
Turkey’s president on Friday condemned what he called “baseless” remarks by Germany’s economy minister scaremongering investors away from Turkey.
“I strongly condemn the German economy minister’s baseless [...] message aimed at frightening companies investing in my country,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a signing ceremony in Istanbul.
He said that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization and the Interior Ministry had told him there was no investigation of German companies operating in Turkey.
Erdogan's remarks came amid heightened tensions between Ankara and Berlin.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday that Berlin would not encourage German businessmen to invest in Turkey, nor would it provide investment guarantees to German firms.
The same day Germany’s government announced several economic measures in an attempt to increase pressure on Ankara, and demanded the release of several German citizens arrested in recent months.
“I would like to remind my German friends and the entire world: You do not have the power to defame Turkey,” Erdogan said, offering reassurances to German companies doing business in Turkey.
“Their guarantee is us and their assurance is us,” he said. “Our country’s doors and nation’s hearts are open to German companies to the end."
Erdogan added that the German government "hides terrorists” and “should first account for this.”
Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in recent months as Turkish leaders slammed Germany for turning a blind eye to the activities of outlawed groups and terrorist organizations hostile to Turkey.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which organized the foiled coup bid in Turkey last year that martyred 250 people, has a large network in Germany, which is home to more than 3 million Turkish immigrants.
Since the coup attempt, nearly 4,000 FETO suspects have come to Germany from Turkey and other countries, according to local media reports.
Apart from FETO, the terrorist PKK also has a large network in Germany and carries out significant propaganda, recruitment, and funding activities.
During the recent tension, the German Foreign Ministry also told German travelers it could no longer guarantee their safety in Turkey.
In his statement, Erdogan called the warnings "baseless and malicious".
“Governments cannot be run by gossips," he said.
The president also blasted the European Union on stalling Turkey’s membership bid, saying that those "who don’t want Turkey to enter the union include other countries whose conditions are unsuitable."
He added, “We have nothing to do with those who destroy their own trustworthiness with their own hands.”