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Merkel Warns Berlin May 'Rethink' Ties As Turkey Detains Two More Germans

GERMANY -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel stands next to a screen depicting a Minecraft rendition of her and the Reichstag building during the opening of the world's largest computer games fair Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, August 22, 2017.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on September 1 that Germany may "rethink" its relations with Turkey and called for a pause in European Union negotiations with Ankara after it detained two more German citizens.

Twelve German citizens are now in Turkish custody facing what Berlin describes as "political charges." Among them is Die Welt daily correspondent Deniz Yucel, who was detained 200 days ago.

Many European citizens have been detained in Turkey over the past year, accused of involvement in last year's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Given these arrests, Merkel told a business event in Nuremberg that she did not think it was appropriate to carry out further discussions with Ankara about its participation in a European Union customs union.

Merkel said that there is no "legal basis" for the arrests of the 12 Germans detained on "political charges," and unless the detainees are released soon, Berlin will have to further "rethink" its already strained relations with Ankara.

German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said earlier that Ankara did not officially inform Berlin about the latest arrests at Antalya airport on August 31, and authorities are seeking to determine what the charges are.

"We must assume that it's a political charge, suspicion of terrorism, as with the others," she said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP