Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, has said his wife was threatened because of a dispute between him and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.
Gabriel, who spoke to German news agency dpa, said Erdoğan’s attitude was clearly motivating some people to bother his wife, who received threats on the answering machine in her clinic. If the leader of a country displays such an attitude towards individuals, there will be those who will see themselves as entitled to directly bother people, said the German minister.
Following Erdoğan’s call on Turks living in Germany not to vote for parties treating Turkey as an enemy and to “teach a lesson” to anti-Turkish parties in next month’s parliamentary election, German minister said: “That is an unprecedented act of interference in the sovereignty of our country.”
Ignoring Gabriel’s warning that Erdoğan should keep out of German politics, Erdoğan said: “Who are you to talk to the president of Turkey? Talk to Turkey’s foreign minister. Know your place.”
The German minister said Erdoğan was turning Turkey into an undemocratic country with his civil coup and that closer cooperation was needed with those who don’t support Erdoğan’s opinions.
“I believe that more than half of the people in Turkey are in favor of democracy and are not supporting Erdoğan and they want Europe and Germany to support democracy in Turkey,” said Gabriel.
Following a series of disputes between the two NATO allies due to Turkey’s crackdown in the wake of a botched coup attempt last summer, Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said a customs union agreement between Turkey and the European Union should not be expanded unless the tension eased with Turkey.
Holding Germany’s strategy responsible for the tension between the two countries, Erdoğan said Germany had carried its domestic crises to that level and had become a country that does not comply with the EU.
Erdoğan also accused the EU of not keeping its promise of allowing visa-free travel to Turkey and of not providing the promised financial assistance.