Lawmaker: Merkel making Germany "susceptible to blackmail" by Turkey

Chancellor Angela Merkel's failure to condemn Turkey's post-coup purge and her insistence on preserving the EU's refugee deal with Ankara is making Germany "susceptible to blackmail" by Turkey, left-wing opposition leader Dietmar Bartsch said Monday.

Merkel's failure to condemn the purge of suspected coup supporters by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "will come back to haunt us," Dietmar Bartsch, the head of the opposition Left Party's parliamentary group, told Deutschlandfunk radio.

"What is happening in Turkey is totally unacceptable and we must not put up with it - (ignoring it) makes us susceptible to blackmail," Bartsch said. "We are putting basic human rights up for debate."

Since the German parliament decided in June to call the Turkish massacre of Armenians a century ago genocide, Erdogan has given the cold shoulder to the German ambassador, issued threatening statements towards German lawmakers and banned parliamentarians from visiting their troops in Turkey.

Merkel has remained neutral on these developments and has repeatedly described the relationship between the two countries as "close and partner-like."

Her recent comments on Erdogan's post-coup purge, in which the urged the president to act with "proportionality," drew condemnation at home and prompted calls for the cancellation of the refugee deal and an end to the prospect of Turkish accession to the bloc.

Merkel and cabinet members including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier have argued that the refugee deal was and continues to be instrumental in stemming the flow of people from Turkey to the Greek islands.

"The refugee deal was wrong to begin with," Bartsch said in reference to the deal, which sees illegal migrants arriving in Greece being deported back to Turkey. "Erdogan will continue to take liberties until Germany is totally incapable of taking action."

Last update: Mon, 08/08/2016 - 10:42
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