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Relations tense as Turkey expels German journalists

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By Associated Press
Relations tense as Turkey expels German journalists

Germany has updated its travel advice for citizens visiting Turkey after Ankara expelled two German journalists.

Joerg Brase, the head of German public broadcaster ZDF's bureau in Istanbul, was given 10 days to leave Turkey after authorities refused a request to renew his media accreditation. No reason was given.

The long-time correspondent for Berlin-based daily Tagesspiegel, Thomas Seibert, was also denied accreditation.

Brase accused Turkey of trying to intimidate foreign correspondents.

"The Turkish government managed to more or less silence the national media, and they are now trying to do it with the international media, and we should not submit to that," he said.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticised the decision of the Turkish authorities, saying that preventing journalists from doing their work is “not compatible with our understanding of press freedom".

In response, the Foreign Ministry updated its travel advice for Germans planning to go to Turkey.

It warned that what’s regarded as freedom of expression in Germany could lead to prosecution in Turkey.

The ministry pointed to Turkey's "arbitrary arrest" in recent years of German citizens suspected of links to banned groups.

And it warned that even private comments on social media could be used by Turkish prosecutors.

The relationship between Berlin and Ankara had been strained following the failed 2016 coup and the arrest by Turkish authorities of tens of thousands of people including Germans.

Last year, 4.5 million German tourists visited Turkey and Germans ranked second after Russians as visitors to the country.