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Turkey’s use of controversial malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients is why Germany is hesitant to lift its travel warning for the country, German news magazine Der Spiegel said on June 26.

According to the information obtained by the magazine, the German government is disturbed with the fact that it will be compulsory for German tourists to be treated with this drug in Turkey if they turn out to have the virus. The German authorities have reportedly told Ankara that this compulsory treatment needs to be abandoned.

The drug is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Germany, and the effects of the treatment and the risks for the patients are said to be unclear.

Robert Koch Institute classifies Turkey as a ‘risky’ country for the virus

Der Spiegel also said that another reason why Berlin has not yet lifted its travel warning for Turkey is that the Robert Koch Institute – the German federal institution responsible for disease control and prevention – still classifies Turkey as a “risky area” due to the country’s high number of infections. The institute has said that more than 50 people among 100,000 inhabitants tested positive for the virus in Turkey in the last week, which is why it is classified in the “risky” zone.

In an earlier interview with Der Spiegel, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had said that he was “disappointed” with the German government’s extension of its coronavirus travel warning for the country. 

“The scientific reasoning behind this decision is difficult for us to understand,” he had said.

To increase pressure on Germany, Çavuşoğlu is reportedly planning to visit Berlin next week.

Berlin announced on June 10 that it was extending travel warnings for over 160 countries outside of the European Union, including Turkey, through the end of August. 

The German government’s warnings advise citizens against “non-essential tourist travel” due to the risks posed by the virus.