In an unprecedented call, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Turks in Germany to vote against Chancellor Angela Merkel and other “hostile parties” in September elections because of their critical stance against Ankara.
President Erdogan portrayed Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union as enemy of Turkey, and called on Turks to cast their votes for parties not hostile to Ankara.
“I’m calling on my countrymen in Germany not to vote for the CDU, the SPD [Social Democratic Party] or the Greens, which are all hostile to Turkey. Support those political parties who are not enemies of Turkey,” the president said after attending Friday prayers in Istanbul.
Mr. Erdogan’s remarks reflect the deepening dispute between Turkey and Germany, and make reconciliation harder than before.
“I call on them not to vote for those parties who have been engaged in such aggressive, disrespectful attitudes against Turkey, and I invite them to teach a lesson to those political parties at the ballot box,” the president stated, as quoted by Reuters.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel quickly denounced the Turkish president’s remarks, portraying them as an “unprecedented act of interference in the sovereignty of our country.”
Though more than 3,5 million Turks live in Germany, not all of them are eligible to vote in German elections. It is unlikely that Mr. Erdogan’s threat would sway, or make any impact on, the elections.
Ms. Merkel seeks a fourth term as chancellor in an election that resonates beyond Germany for its ramifications for the European Union.