Turkey asks EU to correct ‘mistake’ of travel list exclusion

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - APRIL 19: In this aerial view from a drone, roads and squares are empty in the Eminonu district and Galata Bridge during Turkey's second weekend lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on April 19, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. For the second weekend Turkey has lockdown more than two dozen cities, including Istanbul and the capital, Ankara. Turkey has reported over 86,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 2,000 related deaths. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)

ANKARA, July 1 (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday it is disappointed by the European Union's decision to exclude it from a list of countries recommended for non-essential travel and called on the bloc to correct the "mistake" as soon as possible.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement came after the EU excluded Turkey, along with the United States and other countries, from its initial travel “safe list”.

“The measures Turkey has taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic as well as her efforts and success in this respect are evident,” ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in the statement.

“We expect the correction of this mistake regarding the travel restrictions for our citizens as soon as possible.”

There have been more than 200,000 cases of the coronavirus in Turkey, with a death toll of 5,150 and new daily cases currently running at around 1,200.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy will visit Berlin on Thursday for talks with German officials to discuss the pandemic and tourism among other issues. Germany is a key source of tourists for Turkey.

When asked in a news conference about concerns over Turkey’s use of the hydroxychloroquine drug on coronavirus patients, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Turkey could implement German COVID-19 treatment protocols if necessary.

“I can say that we are open to following Germany’s treatment protocols on German visitors if they demand it. Our minister will make a presentation tomorrow on this issue which I believe will ease concerns,” Koca said.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Tayyip Erdogan had told officials from his AK Party that Europe had maintained “restrictive” policies towards Turkey which were based on political rather than health factors. (Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Ezgi Erkoyun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans, Kirsten Donovan)


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