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Germans wary of government inaction on Turkey’s provocations: poll

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo taken on January 12, 2015 shows German (L) and Turkish flags displayed at the Chancellery in Berlin. (AFP photo)

A new poll released in Germany indicates that Germans have become increasingly wary of the way their government is handling an ongoing diplomatic crisis with Turkey, saying Berlin has not done enough to defend Germany against Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hate campaign against the Germans.

Results of the poll published in the German daily Bild am Sonntag on Sunday said 76 percent of the respondents thought that the government was not defending itself enough against Erdogan.

Some 12 percent disagreed with the idea of government inaction on Erdogan’s hate campaign against Germany, the poll, conducted by Emnid opinion research institute, said.

The survey also found that a growing number of Germans think Turkey was no longer a safe destination for their holiday-making. It said 44 percent said they can still go on holiday in Turkey.

The poll comes amid widening diplomatic disputes between Germany and Turkey. Ties further deteriorated earlier this week when Turkish prosecutors remanded in custody six rights activists, including a German national, for their alleged support for terrorism activities. Germany has lashed out at Turkey over the arrest of Peter Steudtner, calling allegations against him and other activists as baseless and in line with a wider crackdown launched by Erdogan against the dissent since a failed coup last year. More than 200,000 people have been either jailed or dismissed from work in Turkey on suspicion of having links to main plotters of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

After the arrest of Steudtner, Germany has warned Turkey of economic sanctions and suspension of cooperation between the two countries in weapons projects.

A senior aide to German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that Berlin was still willing to engage with Turkey, reiterating that it was Ankara’s “unacceptable behavior” that was hampering better ties.

"We want to have good relations with this big and important country but that's only possible if Turkey is and remains a state under the rule of law," Merkel's chief of staff Peter Altmaier said.   

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Chief of Staff Peter Altmaier (AFP photo)

Altmaier also elaborated on issues like Turkey’s refusal to grant an access to German lawmakers to a military base in southern Turkey or recent provocative remarks by Erdogan about Germany. He said "Turkey's behavior is unacceptable,” in those areas. 

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