Germany to maintain travel ban with Turkey despite Ankara’s efforts - VoA

Germany has decided against lifting a travel ban with Turkey, Voice of America Turkish news outlet reported on Tuesday.

The decision from Berlin arrives a day after German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, discussed travel restrictions between the two countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey is seeking to kick-start its tourism industry, a vital source of foreign currency revenue and economic growth, after ending lockdowns throughout the country and partially resuming international flights. 

Speaking on his meeting with Çavuşoğlu, Maas on Monday has said he was not dismissing the possibility to lift on travel bans with some of countries.

“Though this decision will depend on the pandemic-related developments in those countries,” VoA quoted Maas as saying.

The German foreign minister said Berlin was examining Turkey’s protective measures and their reliability in considering the lift on travel restrictions with the country.

High-ranking officials from Turkey, including presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın, visited Berlin last week to discuss the lifting of Germany’s ban, VoA said, citing diplomatic sources.

During the meeting, German authorities were invited to Turkey to examine measures taken by the tourism industry and hygiene regulations approved by German auditing company TÜV-Süd, it said.

Germany’s tourism operators have called on Berlin to lift travel warnings on countries outside the EU, which are currently in place until Aug. 31.

“The extension of the travel alert to popular vacation destinations such as Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt means overall 9 billion Euros loss for July and August,” VoA quoted President of the German Travel Agencies Association (DRV) Norbert Fiebig as saying.

Turkey’s vital $35 billion tourism sector is looking rebound from COVID-19 pandemic this year.

Ankara is intensively lobbying 70 countries to convince them that Turkey will be a safe destination as it gradually eases its pandemic measures, Reuters reported last month.