Turkey's Foreign Ministry criticized recent statements by a German government spokesperson regarding the detention of six suspects in Istanbul's Büyükada, saying that interference in the Turkish judicial system is totally unacceptable.
Ten suspects, including a German national, were detained after Turkish police raided a meeting held at a hotel on the island of Büyükada, across the shore from Istanbul, for planning provocative events that could fuel unrest across Turkey similar to the notorious Gezi Park riots of 2013.
In a statement issued Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert's remarks directly interfere with the Turkish judicial process and cross the line.
"Our Constitution guarantees that no institution, authority, department or person can give orders or instructions to the judiciary," the foreign ministry said.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu gave a speech later in the day, also slamming Germany's attitude and policy towards Turkey.
"Germany, a country we know as friend and ally, embraces terrorists fleeing Turkey with open arms," he said.
Touching upon Germany's request that suspects be released immediately, Çavuşoğlu said "Germany's demand for the immediate release of a German national arrested as part of an ongoing terror-probe disregards the Turkish judiciary."
"When Turkey asks for terrorists to be extradited, Germany says its judiciary is independent, but in return ask us to release suspects in a day."
Çavuşoğlu also criticized the country for threatening Turkey with cancelling customs union talks and its EU funds, saying that the move does not comply wth international standards. He also pointed out that while Germany often boasts about being impartial, it was clear that it chose a side during the Turkish referendum campaign, which amounted to meddling in another country's internal affairs.,
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced Thursday a range of steps to be taken against Turkey in response to the detention of Peter Steudtner, one of the ten detained in Büyükada.
Turkish authorities have accused Steudtner of terrorism, while the German government describes him as a human rights activist.
In the meantime, Gabriel's statements have signaled a more confrontational stance after the escalation in tensions.
He said Germany plans to talk to European Union partners about Turkey's aspirations to join the bloc, while making it clear that Berlin could no longer guarantee German corporate investment in Turkey. Gabriel added that Germany has also revised its travel advice in the wake of the recent arrests.
In a later statement, Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that a serious crisis of confidence was taking place in its relations with Germany, although it is a close friend and an ally of Turkey and shares historic ties.
The MFA statement pointed to the double standard policy of Germany, evident in its attitude towards Turkey, which included harboring PKK and Gülenist Terrorist Group members while asking Turkey to spare terror suspects from prosecution and urge for their release.
"While German authorities are preventing our ministers and lawmakers to meet with our citizens in Germany, they portray German lawmakers close to the [PKK] terror organization visiting our sovereign military bases whenever they want to as their right," the statement said.
Gabriel's statements today is the latest and an unacceptable example of this intentional, distorted approach, the statement said, noting that it was apparent from Gabriel's threatening words that Germany wants to broaden the front against Turkey through travel restrictions, by objecting to the Customs Union update agreement or cutting its EU accession funds.
Six suspects detained in Büyükada were arrested on terrorism charges, while four suspects were released under judicial control. In addition to Germany, the arrests prompted reactions from the U.S. and Sweden.
Berlin also summoned Turkey's ambassador on Wednesday over the detention of Steudtner.
"The Turkish government needs to immediately and directly hear the German government's outrage and indignation, as well as its crystal-clear expectations in the case of Peter Steudtner, and this time without diplomatic niceties," ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said.
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