Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on Turkish people living in Germany not to support the Christian Democrats, Social Democratic Party, the Green Party in the upcoming election.

President Recep Erdogan, seen here in a file picture, has urged Turkish voters in Germany not to vote for the main parties of the CDU, the SDP and the Greens.
President Recep Erdogan, seen here in a file picture, has urged Turkish voters in Germany not to vote for the main parties of the CDU, the SDP and the Greens. (Reuters)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called on Turks in Germany to vote against Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition and other major parties in next month's elections.

"I am calling on all my countrymen in Germany: the Christian Democrats, SDP, the Green Party are all enemies of Turkey. Support those political parties who are not enemies of Turkey," he said in comments after Friday prayers in Istanbul.

"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," he said.  

Relations between the two countries have increasingly soured, with Turkey accusing Germany of harbouring alleged terrorists and Germany protesting the arrest of several of its citizens in Turkey since last year’s failed coup.

Germany has a large Turkish diaspora. Germans go to the polls on September 24 for national elections where Merkel is running for a fourth term.       

Tensions between the two countries have also been strained in the wake of last year's failed coup.

Merkel has also said there would be no expansion of a customs union or deepening in EU-Turkish ties, comments which infuriated Turkey.

Erdogan's statement follows days of tension between Ankara and Berlin, particularly over comments by the German Chancellor appearing to rule out a renewal of a customs union deal between Turkey and the European Union.   

On Wednesday, in an interview with young video bloggers, Merkel signalled that the EU would not enter into talks with Ankara on modernising the customs union, due to recent political tensions.  

Reacting to Erdogan's comments, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: "That is an unprecedented act of interference in the sovereignty of our country.  Erdogan's interference in Germany's electoral campaign shows that he wants to incite people in Germany against each other," he said.

Gabriel, who is a member of the SPD, urged Germans to push back by turning up in strength at the polls and voting for parties that champion democracy.

Source: Reuters