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Turkey’s foreign ministry has issued a travel warning for Turkish citizens living in or traveling to Germany, citing increased right-wing and racist rhetoric ahead of Germany’s Sept. 24 parliamentary election.
In a statement Saturday, the ministry said German candidates have shaped their election campaigns on anti-Turkish discourse to prevent Turkey’s membership in the European Union. It also cited fires of “undetermined causes” in immigrant neighborhoods in Germany as well as alleged ill-treatment of Turkish citizens at German airports as a basis for its warning.
The ministry repeated its allegation that Germany was harboring terror groups, including outlawed Kurdish militants and the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Turkey blames for last summer’s failed coup. Gulen denies the claim.
The statement urged Turkish citizens to exercise caution and avoid political meetings.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, described the Turkish warning on Twitter Sunday as “a bad joke” and added that “Nazi comparisons offend our honor!”
Merkel’s election challenger, Martin Schulz, tweeted: “Fact is: it’s in Turkey, not here, that journalists who speak their opinion are jailed.”