Germany slams Erdogan's 'interference' in vote

Aug 20, 2017, 00:46
Germany slams Erdogan's 'interference' in vote

Turkey's president Recep Erdogan has once again lashed out against Germany, this time branding three of its political parties "enemies of Turkey" and urging his "countrymen" not to vote for them.

Erdogan did not make it clear which German political party he would like people to support in the polls for the Bundestag on September 24.

Turkish German journalist Deniz Yucel, Istanbul correspondent of Die Welt, has been held in jail in Turkey since February ahead of trial on terror charges, while German journalist Mesale Tolu has been held on similar charges since May and activist Peter Steudtner was arrested in a July raid.

Gabriel accused the Turkish president of attempting to incite people against each other and encouraged voters to, "show those who want to play us against each other that we will not participate in this evil game".

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Upping the stakes in a intensifying row with Berlin, Erdogan said ethnic Turks in Germany should not cast their ballots either for Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Gabriel's Social Democratic Party (SPD), or the Greens.

In the run-up to the referendum, German authorities prevented Turkish politicians from speaking to rallies of Turkish citizens in Germany, infuriating Ankara. These troops are participating in the US-led coalition's fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. "I am sorry to say that Turkey no longer exists", Erdogan said at the time. He added in a recent interview with Badische Zeitung that he does not see "any indication of a fundamental change in policy at the moment" in Ankara.

With the charges raised against him remaining unknown, German officials said the move was politically motivated.

Tensions between Erdogan and the European Union were increased in 2016 after an abortive coup attempt against him. The visit was since confirmed by Gulen himself, but he denied that this indicated his own involvement in the coup, describing it as "jumping to conclusions".

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