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Attempted kidnap Swiss Foreign Minister plans Turkey visit amid spying row

Swiss foreign minister seated in parliament

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has yet to announce a date for his visit to Turkey

(Keystone)

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis plans to visit Turkey amid a spying row with Ankara. 

The visit has been under discussion for some time, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Saturday, confirming reports in several German-language newspapers. No date has yet been announced. 

She said plans for the visit were not linked to allegations that Turkish diplomats tried to kidnap an anti-Erdogan Swiss-Turkish businessman in 2016. But some parliamentarians are pushing for the spying row to be high on the foreign minister’s agenda for the visit, reports Swiss public television RTS. 

State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Pascale Baeriswyl on Friday condemned the kidnap attempt on Swiss soil. She said the Foreign Affairs Ministry implicitly gave its approval to an investigation, taking into consideration that those involved could not claim diplomatic immunity.  

+Read more about the attempted kidnap

The Turkish foreign ministry has denied the accusation that employees at its embassy in Bern planned to kidnap the businessman in Switzerland and take him abroad. 

Since the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, Bern has intervened several times with Ankara about suspected spying activities, saying that spying activities against the Turkish diaspora in Switzerland are unacceptable. 

Another issue on the agenda for the foreign minister’s visit is likely to be the Turkish military offensive in Syria, RTS reports. 

SDA-ATS/RTS/jc

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