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Mar 10 2019

Germany tightens travel advice for Turkey, warns about arbitrary detentions

Germany's Foreign Ministry on Saturday revised its travel advice for citizens planning to travel to Turkey, warning that expressing opinions that would be tolerated at home but may not be by the Turkish authorities. 

“It cannot be ruled out ... that the Turkish government will take further action against representatives of German media and civil society organisations,” an updated Foreign Ministry travel advisory said.

“Statements, which are covered by the German legal understanding of the freedom of expression, can lead in Turkey to occupational restrictions and criminal proceedings,” the ministry added. 

The advice cited journalists who recently denied accreditation in Turkey without a given justification, and people who had taken part in some meetings and at anyone making social media comments critical of the Turkish government.

The ministry said German nationals had also been increasingly arbitrarily detained in the last two years in Turkey. The statement also highlighted that some citizens who were arrested after being suspected of supporting the movement of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen — which Turkish authorities believe to be behind the July 2016 coup attempt and consider a terrorist organisation.

Earlier this week, Germany’s Foreign Ministry denounced Turkey’s lack of press freedom, asking Ankara to reverse its refusal to issue press accreditation to three German journalists. 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has also criticised the Turkish authorities' decision not to issue new press credentials to a number of German correspondents. It was unacceptable they were prevented from working freely in Turkey, he said on Saturday. "When journalists are prevented from doing their work, that is incompatible with our understanding of press freedom," he tweeted.