March 23, 2017

Germany threatens Turkish politicians with ban on public appearance

20 March 2017, 06:01 | Rodolfo Wallace

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Gabriel said he was always skeptical of the idea of Turkish EU membership.

The comments were made while the Turkish president was campaigning for a "yes" vote in an upcoming constitutional referendum that would grant him sweeping new powers.

Turkey has also raised alarm in Brussels by threatening to unilaterally scrap a 2016 agreement that has substantially reduced the flow of migrants to the EU.

"If Turkey really is a state under the rule of law as Mr Erdogan claims, I ask myself how he already knows and can say before the start of a trial that Deniz Yucel is a terrorist and a spy", Gabriel told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview that will be published on Saturday.

Gabriel's interview came as a political crisis is unfolding between Turkey and several European countries that have banned pro-Erdogan rallies and events at which top-tier Turkish officials had been invited to speak.

After the arrests of journalists and academics, and detention of tens of thousands in the wake of a failed coup last summer in Turkey, along with a suggestion of restoring the death penalty, the European Union has been very critical of human rights violations infuriating Ankara, exhausted of being kept waiting at the EU's doorstep for decades.

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He raged: "They are trying to complete the work that they did not finish. You are Europe's future".

He infuriated Germany and the Netherlands by describing bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers as "fascist". There is now no sense for Turkey to continue implementing an agreement with the European Union (EU) on refugees, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik told TASS on Thursday.

He said: "Our clear view is it has had tangible results".

Erdogan has repeatedly warned the European Union of the possibility Turkey could restore capital punishment. "We'd be well advised to bring about a "special relationship" with Great Britain after its exit from the EU", Gabriel said.

"The UK Home Office needs to set out their strategy for how they are going to be dealing with this when it inevitably hits the UK's border".

The EU-Turkey refugee pact, which will mark its first anniversary tomorrow, has divided opinion within Europe, with critics saying it breaches human rights and supporters pointing to a 98 per cent drop in arrivals to Greece.

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