Erdogan slams German rebukes over election 'interference'

Erdogan slams German rebukes over election 'interference'”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel hit out Friday against "interference" by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Germany's elections, after the Turkish leader urged Turks living overseas not to vote for parties of the ruling coalition.

Germany will hold a general election on 24 September, and about one million ethnic Turks living in Germany can vote. In April, Turks narrowly backed a referendum to change the constitution and grant Erdogan sweeping executive powers.

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

He has lashed out at Germany before.

Erdogan's remarks are the latest in an ongoing spat between Ankara and Berlin, which spilled over after the botched military coup which took place in Turkey in 2016.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of his ruling AK Party's foundation in Ankara, Turkey, August 14, 2017. The cleric denied any role in the plot.

Erdogan issued his call in televised comments to reporters in Istanbul after Friday prayers.

"You need to support political parties there now which do not display enmity to Turkey".

Turkey says the YPG is indistinguishable from the outlawed Kurdish PKK which has been waging an insurgency in southeast Turkey for more than 30 years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party was included on the list.

Gabriel's SPD - whose candidate for the chancellorship is ex-EU parliament speaker Martin Schulz - and Merkel's CDU are rivals in the election. Erdogan, an authoritarian leader whose roots are in political Islam, has accused Germany of anti-Turkish and anti-Muslim sentiment.

But he said he expected voters of Turkish origin to "teach a lesson to the parties which are disrespectful to Turkey" when they cast their votes in a "struggle for honour".

More than 50,000 people have been arrested in Turkey since the coup plot, including hundreds of journalists, opposition politicians, academics and activists.

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