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Germany: Erdogan and Steinmeier butt heads at banquet04:43

Germany: Erdogan and Steinmeier butt heads at banquet

Germany, Berlin
September 28, 2018 at 22:11 GMT +00:00 · Published

Tensions were high at a state banquet held for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier butted heads about press freedom in their speeches in Berlin on Friday.

In his speech, Steinmeier expressed concerns about German and Turkish citizens who had been imprisoned since the failed coup in 2016: "I'm worried about German citizens who are imprisoned in Germany for political reasons, and I'm also worried about Turkish journalists, trade unionists, lawyers, intellectuals and politicians, who are still in detention."

This prompted Erdogan to respond, saying that it was not Turkey's job to protect terrorists: "If in my country someone is involved in terrorism, that person, no matter what class he belongs to, if law enforces penalty in that case, the juridical organs will do what is necessary. That would be the case both in Germany as well, and in another country in the world."

Relations have been strained during the Turkish president's three-day visit to Germany, with Merkel calling on Erdogan to resolve cases of German citizens imprisoned in Turkey after the coup, and Erdogan urging Merkel to extradite opponents he claims are terrorists.

Erdogan's visit has sparked protests around the country, with demonstrators criticising the Turkish president's human rights record, particularly following his crackdown on opponents after the attempted coup d'etat.

Germany: Erdogan and Steinmeier butt heads at banquet04:43
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Tensions were high at a state banquet held for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier butted heads about press freedom in their speeches in Berlin on Friday.

In his speech, Steinmeier expressed concerns about German and Turkish citizens who had been imprisoned since the failed coup in 2016: "I'm worried about German citizens who are imprisoned in Germany for political reasons, and I'm also worried about Turkish journalists, trade unionists, lawyers, intellectuals and politicians, who are still in detention."

This prompted Erdogan to respond, saying that it was not Turkey's job to protect terrorists: "If in my country someone is involved in terrorism, that person, no matter what class he belongs to, if law enforces penalty in that case, the juridical organs will do what is necessary. That would be the case both in Germany as well, and in another country in the world."

Relations have been strained during the Turkish president's three-day visit to Germany, with Merkel calling on Erdogan to resolve cases of German citizens imprisoned in Turkey after the coup, and Erdogan urging Merkel to extradite opponents he claims are terrorists.

Erdogan's visit has sparked protests around the country, with demonstrators criticising the Turkish president's human rights record, particularly following his crackdown on opponents after the attempted coup d'etat.

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