Germany reconsidering Turkey travel warning: Turkish FM
Germany is reconsidering its out-dated travel warning for Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters at an international tourism fair in Berlin, Çavuşoğlu said he raised the issue during his meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday.
"Now the minister of foreign affairs is re-considering the travel warning," he said, adding that the current travel advice was not reflecting the current situation in Turkey.
"German tourists will be very comfortable and safe when they come to Turkey," he added.
Turkey has been one of the most popular travel destinations for German holidaymakers, but the number of visitors declined in recent years, due to conflicts in countries neighboring Turkey, as well as political tensions between Ankara and Berlin.
The number of German tourists dropped from 5.5 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016, according to official figures. In 2017, around 3.5 million German tourists traveled to Turkey.
Amid political tensions with Ankara, the German government warned its citizens last July to exercise caution when travelling to Turkey, saying several German citizens were arrested in the country as part of counter-terrorism investigations.
Çavuşoğlu said Turkey has left behind a difficult process of normalization after the defeated coup in 2016, adding that Ankara and Berlin were now taking steps to rebuild trust.
"As two foreign ministers we did our best to normalize our relations, to create more positive atmosphere in our relations," he said, referring to his efforts with Sigmar Gabriel in recent months to overcome tensions.
Ties between Ankara and Berlin were strained after the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, as Turkish politicians heavily criticized their German counterparts for failing to show strong solidarity with Turkish government against the attempted military takeover.
Ankara also slammed Berlin for granting asylum to several coup suspects, turning a blind eye to outlawed groups and terrorist organizations like the PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), which use Germany as a platform for their activities.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the July 15, 2016 defeated coup attempt which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
German politicians, on the other hand, voiced concern over press freedom and human rights issues, and criticized large-scale counter-terrorism investigations.
The arrest of nearly two dozen German-Turkish dual citizens, on suspicion of aiding terrorist groups, had been a source of friction between Ankara and Berlin.
Despite repeated calls by German politicians for their release, Turkish government ruled out any political influence on the judiciary and advised them to wait for the decision of the courts.
After the release of journalist Deniz Yucel last month, currently four German-Turkish citizens are under arrest.
Germany has a 3 million-strong Turkish community, many of whom are second- and third-generation German-born citizens of Turkish descent whose grandparents moved to the country during the 1960s.