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Turkey disregards Berlin’s reaction to arrest of German citizens over coup links

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)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a welcome ceremony during the visit of the Turkish president in the Jordanian capital Amman on August 21, 2017.(Photos by AFP)

Ankara has dismissed Berlin’s reaction to Turkey’s arrest of German citizens over alleged links to last year’s failed coup.

"When we arrest (a coup plotter) Germany starts to get upset. But what are we supposed to do?" said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced Turkey's move to arrest two more German citizens after Berlin announced that two more German nationals had been held in Turkey "for political reasons," bringing the total number of Germans arrested in the country to 12.

"This is also a Turkish citizen but it (Germany) asks why are you arresting my citizen?,” added Cavusoglu.

According to Turkish media, the two Germans are of Turkish descent and were detained at Antalya airport in southeastern Turkey over suspicion of having ties to the failed coup. 

"If it's someone connected to the failed coup, if they supported it, then why are you protecting them?," stressed Cavusoglu.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of Victory Day, commemorating a decisive battle in the Turkish War of Independence, at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara on August 30, 2017.

European leaders have been critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his government’s crackdown following last year’s botched military coup in the country.

The Turkish president has also come under fire for holding a referendum to expand his presidential powers.

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Merkel’s remarks followed a series of fiery exchanges between the leaders of the two countries. Germany has repeatedly criticized Turkey’s crackdown on those suspected of involvement in the coup, saying the Turkish government has acted beyond the rule of law.

Turkey witnessed the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish military declared that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no more in charge of the country. A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.

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