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Germany closes missions in Turkey over fears of attacks

15 September 2016 22:19

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Germany says it has temporarily shut its diplomatic missions in Turkey, with reports saying that the move came amid fears that the buildings might come under attack by supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The German Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that its embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, and consular offices, including the main consulate in the city of Istanbul, had been closed to public during Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, holiday week of September 12-16.

However, the ministry refrained from commenting on the reason behind the closure.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Bild newspaper reported that the decision had been taken as a precaution after Berlin learned that mob attacks were likely during Eid al-Adha.

The report came one day after Ankara censured as “provocative” the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel for a recent special edition critical of President Erdogan.

The special Der Spiegel issue has the title Hotspot Turkey with the strapline reading, “A country loses its freedom.”

The cover features Erdogan wearing sunglasses and two minarets from Istanbul’s Blue Mosque transformed into rockets and lifting off for an attack. At the bottom of the page, a teaser for one of the magazine’s stories is titled The Dictator.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement that the edition was a “new manifestation of the distorted and prejudiced mindset” targeting the predominantly Muslim country and was “the clear and latest example of an anti-Turkey approach.”

“We regretfully condemn the attempts … to smear Mr. President,” the statement read, urging an end to “pointless and ill-intentioned” efforts to blacken Turkey’s image.

Tensions have been rising between Ankara and Berlin in recent months.

Earlier this year, the Turkish president reacted angrily to the broadcast of a satirical song about him on German television and launched legal action against the comedian who had written it.

Weeks later, the German parliament passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian “genocide” at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I.

Germany has also censured Turkey’s treatment of the Kurdish minority as well as journalists and condemned the government’s escalating crackdown launched in the aftermath of the July 15 failed coup.

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