Turkey calls on Germany to lift travel warnings, send inspectors to hotels

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on Germany to lift travel warnings on the country and to send health officials to inspect its tourism facilities, according to local media reports.

Turkey is seeking to kickstart its tourism industry, a vital source of foreign currency revenue and economic growth, after ending lockdowns on its population at the end of May and restarting flights to foreign destinations.

Çavuşoğlu made the comments during a phone call with his German counterpart Heiko Maas on Monday, reported Hürriyet, one of Turkey’s best-selling newspapers, which cited diplomatic sources. The post coronavirus normalisation process and Turkey-EU relations were also among the topics discussed, it said.

“We are one of the countries that has set an example on dealing with the coronavirus,” Çavuşoğlu told Maas, according to Hürriyet. “We have implemented all required measures at our tourism facilities on hygiene and on social distancing… There is nothing that stands in the way of German tourists spending their holidays in our country.”

Maas said last week that Turkey was seeking an exemption from travel warnings issued by Berlin on countries outside the EU. He said that the capacity of Turkey’s health system, measures for the safety of tourists and planned flights to and from tourism destinations were the main topics under discussion.

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 tourism industry is also an important source of jobs for Turkey and revenue helps it bolster the value of the lira, which dropped to a record low in early May.

The country earned a record $34.5 billion from tourism last year, attracting 45 million foreign visitors. Nearly 5 million German tourists visited in 2019, ranking Germany second after Russia for tourists.

Turkey had targeted $40 billion in revenue from tourism this year before the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic.