Turkey urges Germany to update travel list

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Germany should reconsider its travel warning against Turkey, “based on the objective criteria”, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on July 2.

“Germany needs to review its travel warning. After evaluating the situation based on the objective criteria, Turkey should be listed within the safe and secure countries. Our German friends also want to come for holiday to Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu said speaking at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“We are ready to welcome our guests from Germany and other countries,” he said emphasizing that Turkey has taken necessary measures to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Top diplomats of Turkey and Germany met in Berlin to discuss tourism and travel restrictions introduced to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Minister of Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy also held talks with his German counterpart.
Çavuşoğlu stated that all the processes, including all the facilities, airports and transfers, were certified by German companies and that they would be supervised by them. One of the best countries in the world on the issue of health is Germany, another is Turkey, the minister said.

Turkey has started flights to eight cities as of June 11 and tourists slowly began to come to travel to the country, he said.

Germany will keep reviewing travel advice for Turkey, Foreign Minister Maas said for his part, noting any decisions were coordinated with the EU and based on reliable data on infections and the health situation.
Turkey is disappointed that the EU has excluded it, along with the United States and others, from a list of countries recommended for non-essential travel and has called on it to correct its “mistake”.

Maas reminded that reviews of the situation took place every two weeks and said “Further steps will follow”.

He noted that family visits were excluded from the travel warning.

“This is about how we guarantee safe tourism in the corona crisis,” said Maas, welcoming the latest information on the situation given him by Çavuşoğlu, adding, however, that could not prejudge future decisions.

France ‘must apologize over Med Sea incident’     

France has to apologize to Turkey over an incident between the two countries’ naval forces off Libya as Paris’ claims that the Turkish warships targeted a French frigate were proven to be inaccurate by the NATO, the Turkish top diplomat said, amid ongoing tension between the two allies.

“It’s not true that our warships targeted (the French vessels). They should apologize to Turkey,” Foreign Çavuşoğlu also told.

Çavuşoğlu accused France of not telling NATO and the European Union the truth about the incident between the Turkish and French warships in the Mediterranean Sea on June 10 as a NATO probe has proven that Ankara’s version on the case was the accurate one.

France has claimed that the Turkish warships flashed their radars three times at the French frigate Courbet in a bid to prevent the French vessel from inspecting a Tanzania-flagged ship on the suspicions that it was smuggling weapons to Libya in violation of UN arms embargo. Turkey rejected the French version of the incident and accused Courbet of putting navigational safety of the Turkish vessels into danger by close and aggressive maneuverings.

France has taken the incident to NATO but a report penned by the experts has not endorsed the claims that the Turkish vessels targeted the Courbet. Angry with the report, France has announced that it withdraws its air and navy vessels from the NATO’s Sea Guardian mission until satisfactory responses were provided by the alliance on its demands concerning the code of conducts of the ongoing allied exercises.

“NATO has seen this fact (about the incident). France has to make a sincere confession (about the incident) instead of displaying an opposition against Turkey through misinformation and manipulation. Our expectation from France is a clear apology, without buts, because of not providing the accurate information,” Çavuşoğlu stressed.

Turkey attaches great importance to its relationship with the allied countries and pays utmost attention to avoid such kind of incidents, he said, citing the wrongful nature of the EU’s Operation Irini and growing anti-Turkey sentiments in France as it has recently lost grounds in both Libya and Syria as the factors of tension in the Mediterranean.

Lasting truce and political solution for Libya
Turkey’s policy concerning Libya is based on a political settlement to the conflict and a lasting truce between the two warring sides, Çavuşoğlu said, recalling that General Khalifa Haftar has never opted for a political solution to the question as was seen at the Berlin Conference in January.

The minister highlighted the need for a road map that will bring about a result-oriented political process and a lasting ceasefire, saying “We are willing to work with Germany and other countries on all these issues. France is also included. As long as we all side with the legitimacy, we all do not support the putschists and stand against the division of Libya.”
All the related parties should also be aware of the concerns of the NATO, Çavuşoğlu said, implying the alliance’s disturbance on growing Russian presence and influence in the Libyan theater.

On a question, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey is supporting the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and providing advisory support to the GNA’s military brass. “Honesty is required. No one is questioning the transfer of weapons from Syria or cargo planes from Abdu Dhabi to Libya, no one is talking about the French military support to Haftar but Turkey’s relations with the legitimate government is being scrutinized. It’s not honesty,” he stressed.

Hurriyet Daily News

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