(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Turkey's arrest of human rights defenders, journalists and opposition is "alarming", the European Union said on Thursday (July 20), calling for their "immediate release".
European Commission Chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said that EU funding for the country would not necessarily be stopped as a sanction against Turkey, as funding is a matter decided jointly by the EU's member states.
This comes following an escalating diplomatic dispute between Germany and Turkey after Turkey arrested six human rights activists including German national Peter Steudtner.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said earlier on Thursday that his country would talk to EU partners about Turkey's aspirations to join the bloc, and made clear Berlin could no longer guarantee German corporate investment in Turkey. He also said he could not envisage talks on expanding the customs union to Turkey and he issued new travel advice which warned of risks in Turkey for Germans.