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German citizens warned about Turkey travel

The German government has warned citizens travelling to Turkey that they are at risk of arrest, and says it is considering a series of diplomatic and economic sanctions against Ankara.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says Germany hasrevised its travel advice following the recent arrests of several human rights activists, including German national Peter Steudtner.
Steudtner "was no Turkey expert - he never wrote about Turkey, he had no contacts in the political establishment ... and never appeared as a critic," Gabriel told reporters.
He added that this meant that any German national travelling to Turkey could suffer the same fate.
The minister, who returned to Berlin from holiday to deal with the incident, said that he would work with Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union officials to decide on other sanctions against Turkey.
The measures being considered include withdrawing export guarantees and pre-accession funding to Turkey from the EU, Gabriel said.
"I don't see how we can continue guaranteeing companies' investments in Turkey," Gabriel said in response to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to blacklist dozens of German companies it suspects of supporting terrorism.
Local media reported on Thursday that Ankara had suggested swapping German nationals being held in Turkey for Turks it suspects of supporting last year's failed coup attempt that were subsequently granted asylum in Germany.
"There is no official offer of a swap," Gabriel said. "There has been no correspondence and no phone call" in which such a swap was suggested, he added.
Turkey earlier said Germany's demand for the release of Steudtner was "unacceptable" and an attempt to interfere with the Turkish judiciary.
A Turkish court on Tuesday ordered the pre-trial arrest of four leading human rights activists, including Amnesty International's country director, Steudtner and a Swedish trainer, for alleged links to terror groups.

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