“You belong to us”

Fellow citizens of Turkish origin in Germany © Boris Roessler

Against the backdrop of the clashes between the German and Turkish governments over the past few days, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is courting people of Turkish origin in Germany in an open letter.

"No matter how difficult the political relations between Germany and Turkey are, it remains clear to us: you, the people of Turkish origin in Germany, belong to us – whether with or without a German passport," writes Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) in an open letter in both languages published by the "Bild" newspaper on Saturday.

Solidarity between Germans and Turks

The friendship between Germans and Turks is "a great treasure," Gabriel writes "in the name of the entire German government" to the approximately three million Turks and people of Turkish origin.

Germany also worked for good relations with Turkey "because we know that a good relationship between Germany and Turkey is important for you," the foreign minister continues, addressing the "dear Turkish fellow citizens" directly.

Policy towards Turkey

Nevertheless, the German government cannot "stand idly by" when "blameless German citizens" are put in prison in Turkey and has therefore changed its policy toward Turkey, Gabriel explains, emphasizing, "None of this is directed against the people in Turkey and our fellow citizens with Turkish roots in Germany."

After the imprisonment of human rights activists in Turkey, among them the German Peter Steudtner, the German government had announced on Thursday a reorientation of the Turkey policy.

Consequences

As a first step, travel advice has been tightened up. In order to put economic prere on Turkey, the German government wants to put state protection for corporate investments, the so-called Hermes guarantees, and EU funds for Turkey under the microscope.

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