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Ahead of EU Meeting, Turkey Begins Trial of 17 Journalists

25 Juillet 2017

Speaking after a meeting with Turkey's foreign and EU affairs ministers in Brussels, the European commissioner who oversees the membership talks said he needed to see "a reversal of the trend" towards authoritarianism.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan thinks that buying the S-400 air-defence system from Russian Federation should not worry any other country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces elections in September and the migrant issue is widely seen as one of the most delicate she faces. Germany is revealing its real intentions through threats over the economy as the ministers of the country warn Turkey of avoiding investments, the president said.

There is no evidence that the large community of Turkish people in Germany is being subjected to such treatment.

In an op-ed for the Daily Sabah, he denounced the "German media's obsession with Erdogan, which reads like the stray thoughts of the mentally disturbed rather than serious political commentary".

Since last year's coup, Turkish authorities have accelerated a crackdown on critics and opponents, often under the charge of helping the movement of exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen - which they say was behind the coup - or the Kurdish PKK party.

His remarks came amid the USA criticism over the possibility of Turkey purchasing an anti-missile defense system from a non-NATO country.

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But Turkey's escalating row with Germany over access to Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air bases and the detention of the head of Amnesty International in Turkey have driven relations to a new low.

Tensions with Germany were already running high after the arrest of a Turkish-German journalist and a pullout of German troops from a Turkish air base.

Erdogan on Tuesday refused to back down in the feud with Germany, saying "they don't want us to retaliate while their agents run around freely". Another journalist of Turkish origin, Mesale Tolu, who is a German national without Turkish passport, was arrested in April.

While the European Union has condemned the July 2016 coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan, the extent of the crackdown and the deterioration of human rights have alienated Brussels.

Germany took in almost one million refugees, mostly fleeing the war in Syria, and there have been growing concerns that a complete breakdown in relations with Turkey could scupper the deal and cause a fresh migrant crisis.

Mogherini met the secretary general of Amnesty, Salil Shetty, before the meeting with the Turkish officials and was photographed holding up a petition signed by nearly a million people calling for the release of rights activists in Turkey.

Another issue was the EU's refusal to grant a visa-free regime to Turkish citizens because of anti-terror legislation.

Ahead of EU Meeting, Turkey Begins Trial of 17 Journalists