Chancellor Merkel has dismissed Turkey’s warning about traveling to Germany, saying that Turkish citizens are more than welcome to visit, Deutsche Welle reports.
Ankara had cautioned that its citizens run the risk of facing racism or terrorism.
No Turkish citizen should be afraid of traveling to Germany during its election season, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.
“I want to be very clear here: Any Turkish citizen can come visit us,” Merkel said during a campaign stop in the western town of Delbrück.
“No journalists are arrested here. No journalists are put into detention here. Here, we have freedom of expression and the rule of law. And we’re proud of that,” the chancellor added.
According to the German Foreign Office, at least 10 Germans are currently detained in Turkey on political charges, including Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist with Die Welt newspaper.
On Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning telling Turkish citizens visiting or living in Germany to be cautious amid reports of racism during the country’s election campaign.
The Foreign Ministry statement also told its citizens that Germany welcomes terrorist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the network of the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Both Merkel and her main rival in the upcoming September 24 national election, Martin Schulz, called for an end to Turkey’s EU membership talks during a television debate last week.
Schulz harshly criticized the Turkish government’s travel warning, saying at a campaign event on Saturday that “Germany is not a country that can accept such indignity from Turkey.”
Around 3 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany, 1 million of whom have the right to vote in the upcoming election.