Binali Yildirim says German companies should not suffer due to tense relations

German companies working in Turkey should set themselves apart from any political tension between the two countries, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday.

Addressing a group of German executives, Yildirim reassured them following remarks last week from German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel that sought to dissuade firms from doing business in Turkey.

“It is very crucial for us that you are not part of the tension and do not suffer from it,” Yildirim said at Cankaya Palace in Ankara.

“I am saying clearly that we see you as the companies of this country.”

He added: “German companies paying a price in Turkey for the [state of] relations between the two countries is out of the question.”

Ties between the countries deteriorated significantly last week when Gabriel said the government would no longer encourage or guarantee investment in Turkey.

It was the latest in a long-running series of diplomatic incidents that has included German complaints about the arrest of its nationals on terrorism charges, the lack of access for lawmakers to German troops at Incirlik air base and claims that Turkey has carried out espionage in Germany.

Ankara has accused Germany of harbouring terrorists and criticized the government for barring Turkish politicians from addressing crowds ahead of April’s constitutional referendum.

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