Erdoğanist media goes on Germany-bashing despite of sharp twist by Erdoğan gov’t

Despite of the radical twist in the Turkish government’s approach towards Germany under the rule of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, pro-Erdoğan media has contiuned Germany-bashing with their front page covering on Tuesday. The pro-Erdoğan media including Yeni Akit, Star and Akşam dailies have printed with front pages full of defamation targeting Germany and German officials on their Tuesday issues.

Staunchly Erdoğanist and radical Islamist Yeni Akit daily’s front page headline has claimed that the Germany under the rule of Chancellor Angela Merkel is worse than the Germany under the rule of Adolf Hitler and Turks are being subjected to various forms of repression in the country. In its major story on Tuesday, Yeni Akit used the, “Worse than Hitler” headline as it featured a photo of Merkel.

The daily claimed that Germany, which is uncomfortable about a developing Turkey under the rule of President Erdoğan and openly mentions this, has begun to employ methods similar to those used during Hitler’s era. Yeni Akit claimed that Turkish citizens in Germany are denied medical services, Turkish workers are fired from their jobs and Turkish individuals are not even allowed to rent apartments.

Pro-Erdoğan Akşam daily, which is one of the newspapers owned by pro-government businessman Ethem Sancak, who was recently elected to Erdoğan led the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK), has continued to call jailed human rights defenders in Turkey as ‘spies’ with its main headline on the front page and has claimed that Germany surveil the arrested human rights defenders via chips.

Ten human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s (AI) Turkey director İdil Eser, who were detained on July 5 during a workshop at a hotel on İstanbul’s Büyükada, were later put in pre-trial arrest by Turkish government. Turkish police, acting on an anonymous tip, raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul, and detained Eser from AI, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmuz Özbekli, and Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association. Two foreign trainers — a German and a Swedish national — as well as the hotel owner, who was later released, were among the detainees.

Star, another staunchly Erdoğanist daily newspaper owned by pro-Erdoğan businessman and AKP MKYK member Ethem Sancak has portrayed Germany’s regular consular services in İstanbul for citizens to inform about their travel plans in its front page headline on Tuesday issue as the main evidence of espionage done by arrested human rights defenders.

Tensions are running high between Turkey and Germany due to Turkey’s arrest of several German nationals including Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel and German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner. Turkish President Erdoğan is believed to be detaining German nationals to force the deportation of Turkish asylum seekers, who Turkish Erdoğan accuses of having mounted a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016, from Germany.

Germany said Turkey had informed it on Monday that it had dropped accusations of “terrorism” funding against nearly 700 German companies amid an escalating dispute between the NATO partners. A spokesman for the German interior ministry said his Turkish counterpart had contacted him about the allegations leveled against nearly 700 German firms including giants Daimler and BASF.

The spokesman, Tobias Plate, said Berlin had been told that the list of companies with Turkish operations being investigated for “financing of terrorism” lodged with Interpol in May had been withdrawn, saying the suspicion had been based on a “communication problem.” The Turkish interior minister “assured us that the Turkish authorities were not investigating companies on the list in Turkey or in Germany,” he said.

Reuters has reported last week that Turkey had handed Germany a list of 680 companies and individuals suspected of links to terrorism due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, blamed for Turkey’s failed coup last year. The movement denies the charge.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ  said on Monday Turkey’s submission to Interpol of a list of around 700 German companies suspected of funding terrorism was caused by a “communications problem.” Turkey had only asked Interpol for information about the export and import of 140 Turkish companies that are allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a botched coup attempt last July, Bozdağ said.

Germany said Turkey had informed it on Monday that it had dropped accusations of “terrorism” funding against nearly 700 German companies amid an escalating dispute between the NATO partners.

Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan on Friday had denied the claims, saying the reports were “black propaganda” aimed at pressuring German companies not to invest in Turkey. “You have no power to darken Turkey,” Erdoğan said. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım had also dismissed the report as “entirely a lie” and urged Berlin to solve an escalating crisis through dialogue.

However, Erdoğan has strongly slammed Germany’s threats to impose economic sanctions on Turkey amid ongoing tension in ties, saying that it will be Germany to pay the price in the event that it imposes an embargo.  “You have to take into account a bigger price [that you have to pay] if you think you can frighten Turkey with your threats of embargo,” Erdoğan told ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies at a weekly meeting in parliament on July 25.

Erdoğan’s remarks followed statements from Berlin that suggested imposing some economic sanctions and issuing travel warnings for German tourists that visiting the country will be at their own risk.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said President Erdoğan is putting at risk his country’s centuries-old ties with Germany. “He is jeopardizing the centuries-old partnership,” Schaeuble said of Erdoğan.”It is dramatic, as there is really a lot that connects us. But we can’t allow ourselves to be blackmailed,” the minister said in an interview with the Bild daily published on Monday. (SCF with July 25, 2017

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