BERLIN

Germany and Turkey are in talks to evaluate if Ankara could be granted an exemption from Berlin’s travel warning issued for all countries outside the EU, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Maas recalled that Germany decided to lift its global travel warning for EU member states and associated countries, but extended it for all the other countries outside Europe until the end of August.

“We have close dialogue with Turkey, with the government and with the relevant authorities,” Maas said, adding that talks between Berlin and Ankara were focused on the review of the pandemic situation, the capacity of the health system, measures for safety of tourists and planned flights to and from tourism destinations.

“We will review the situation according to these criteria, and if we come to a conclusion that it is reasonable, then we will lift the travel warning and replace it with a travel advice for Turkey,” he said.

Maas noted that non-EU member countries meeting these criteria could be granted exemption from the current travel warning in the coming weeks, before the end of August.

Turkey is one of the most popular travel destinations for German holidaymakers. Nearly 5 million German tourists traveled to Turkey last year.

Germany’s leading tour operators have called on the government this week to lift travel warning also for non-EU member countries like Turkey, which have successfully managed the pandemic process.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that Berlin’s “travel warning” for non-EU countries should not be interpreted as a “travel ban” for citizens who want to travel to Turkey or other countries.

“A travel warning is not a travel ban,” Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Christofer Burger told reporters, adding that this information was provided to inform citizens about potential pandemic risks, restrictions or lockdown measures abroad.

“In the end, everyone has to decide for himself or herself. We cannot decide on their behalf,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.