As noted by the Guardian and other sources, German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner was detained at a human rights workshop on Monday with five others including Amnesty International’s country director, Idil Eser, for allegedly aiding a terror group.
In response, Germany issued a meaningless statement urging “caution” to which the Turkish foreign ministry hit back, accusing Germany of “blackmail and threats” and “direct interference in the Turkish judiciary”.
Eurointelligence is spot on with its analysis of the situation.
The situation in Turkey is very dangerous, especially now after the imprisonment of the German human rights activist Peter Steudtner on trumped-up charges of aiding terrorists.
Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, yesterday called Merkel to seek a coalition agreement to warn German travelers to be careful when traveling to Turkey. This is not an official travel warning, which would have significant consequences. It would, for example, have allowed people to cancel existing travel bookings for the summer holiday without penalty. It would have allowed travel insurance providers to exclude Turkey from the list of insured countries. It would have had severe implications for German investment in Turkey. This policy of issuing a de facto but not de jure travel warning is a rather weak response
To distant observers it must sound shocking to learn that the EU’s relations with Turkey have been almost business-as-usual. Merkel and the EU seem willing to do anything to ensure that the refugee deal with Turkey won’t collapse. The response to Turkey’s persistent human right abuses shows us how weak Germany, and the EU in general, have become after accepting the morally questionable refugee deal with President Erdogan in 2016.
The EU has abandoned any pretense of having an interest in human rights, and regards the introduction of the death penalty as the only red line in EU-Turkey relations. The EU thus remains committed to maintaining the façade of a political process that could eventually lead to Turkish EU membership. We would presume that the Turkish leader regards the feeble response from Berlin and Brussels as encouragement to continue to wield the leverage he has over the EU.
The EU only has principles when it comes to Brexit and punishment of the UK. Meanwhile, both Germany and the EU looks the other way when it comes to Turkey, Poland, Hungary in regards to serious rule violations.
MIke “Mish” Shedlock