World

The Latest: Turkish PM reassures German firms in Turkey

The Latest on the relationship between Turkey and the European Union (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has met with representatives of 19 German companies operating in Turkey and reassured them that no German firm is under investigation.

This week, Turkey withdrew a request via Interpol for information on a number of German companies with ties to Turkish firms that are under investigation for alleged terror financing. Turkey claimed there was a "communications problem."

Yildirim told company executives: "There definitely is no such investigation."

Thursday's meeting was organized amid a spat between the two countries following Turkey's jailing of human rights activists, including a German national.

The German government increased pressure on Turkey following the activists' arrests, telling all citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the country and threatening to withhold backing for German investments in Turkey.

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9:20 a.m.

Austria's chancellor says the European Union could "never, ever" digest the economic impact of Turkey joining, underlining his country's hard line against membership.

Austria has been among Ankara's most outspoken critics in the 28-nation EU and argued for freezing membership talks with Turkey.

Chancellor Christian Kern told Thursday's edition of German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that "it must be legitimate to say: 'You simply are not a membership candidate'." He added that Austria has advanced not only arguments about the state of Turkish democracy but also economic ones.

Kern said: "In purely economic terms, Europe could never, ever digest Turkey's accession. How is that supposed to work?"

He also said that "Turkey has crossed almost all red lines" on issues such as its treatment of journalists and lawmakers.