World, Europe

Germany says tourism talks with Turkey to continue

German foreign minister says EU’s list of safe countries for travel can be updated in mid-July

Ayhan Simsek  | 02.07.2020 - Update : 03.07.2020
Germany says tourism talks with Turkey to continue



Germany and Turkey will continue their talks on tourism and conditions for lifting coronavirus-related travel restrictions, the German foreign minister said on Thursday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart in Berlin, Heiko Maas said Turkey provided today detailed information about its COVID-19 containment measures and safe tourism program, which would be reviewed by relevant German and European authorities. 

“In the next two weeks, we would have discussions within the EU and would review the list of positive countries,” he said, referring to the countries, which were classified by the 27-member bloc as safe countries for travel.

“But I cannot prejudge the outcome of our assessment,” Maas added.

Objective assessment

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, for his part, renewed his call on Germany to reconsider its travel warning on Turkey, stressing that Ankara has taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of tourists.

“Germany needs to revise its travel warning on Turkey based on objective assessments. Our German friends also want to holiday here,” Cavusoglu said.

He said this is not only important for Turkish tourism but also for German tourism sector.

“It needs to be evaluated within the framework of objective criteria. We gave the latest figures to Heiko [Maas] today. Our friends will give to their interlocutors,” he said.

“If we look from the objective perspective, Turkey should be on the list of safe countries. Turkey and Germany are both the world’s best countries in terms of health care,” he added.

Cavusoglu also said he has German neighbors in his hometown Antalya and they are starting to come to Turkey.

“This is because they see Turkey as a safe country. If the restrictions and travel warning lifted, they will come more comfortably,” he said.

On Tuesday, EU members decided to lift travel restrictions initially for 15 countries, including Canada, Algeria, Tunisia, Serbia, Rwanda, South Korea and Thailand, after a long debate among the member states.

The EU’s decision drew criticism from Ankara, with Turkish officials stressing that their country, which has successfully managed the pandemic process, should have been included in the list.

Asked whether Germany would scrap its national travel warning for Turkey, Maas said Berlin has to coordinate any decision on lifting travel restrictions with other EU member states.

Last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided to lift its global travel warning only for EU member states and Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), but extended it for all the other countries until the end of August.

Turkey is one of the most popular travel destinations for German holiday makers. Nearly 5 million German tourists traveled to Turkey last year.

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