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Germany flexed its economic might in response to deteriorating relations with Turkey, warning companies against doing business in the country and issuing revised guidelines for travelers. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced a "re-orientation" of German policy toward Turkey Thursday, threatening to send already stormy relations with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan into a downward spiral. Germany is Turkey's largest trading partner, while ethnic Turks make up Germany's largest minority. Merkel was key in pressing for a refugee deal between the EU and Turkey under which Erdogan keeps mainly Syrian refugees in Turkey in return for billions of euros in aid and progress toward EU membership.Germany's BGA trade association signaled that the threat over business is real, saying that companies had already halted investment and that it expects a "significant drop" in exports to Turkey.While a change in Turkish policies can come only "from within," the European Union and NATO should apply economic and diplomatic pressure to get Turkey to respect human rights, Hardt said on Germany's ZDF public television.
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