Amid a war of words between Berlin and Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday endorsed the Allianz Deutscher Demokraten (ADD), a political party in Germany founded by Turkish-Germans, expressing hope that the party would participate in elections all over Germany.
“A party was founded with the name ‘ADD.’ I think the majority of people who established the party are our kin. They might have used my name thinking it was a unifying factor among Turks there. If my picture can contribute to their strength, I will be happy. I hope they participate in elections all over Germany,” said Erdoğan, referring to the new party’s use of his picture and name on their campaign posters, during a press conference in İstanbul before leaving for an official visit to Kazakhstan.
Underlining that the participation of ADD in elections is an important step on the way to European Parliament elections, Erdoğan said: “I believe this is a good step. They won’t be afraid. They will present themselves well. They will participate in the elections. It will be good to see the strength of our kin there.”
Erdoğan’s statements ahead of the elections in Germany on 24 September have created tension between the two countries.
The Turkish president last month called on Turks living in Germany not to vote for parties treating Turkey as an enemy.
“They closed the doors of Germany to the Turkish president. [Chancellor Angela] Merkel is also one of them. They have no relation to democracy. Now their foreign minister [German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel] snipes at me. Who are you? I am not your interlocutor,” Erdoğan said, adding:
“Never vote for parties that are the enemy of Turkey. Go with Turkey-friendly parties. Don’t worry if the parties are small. Let’s make them bigger.”
German Foreign Minister Gabriel reacted to Erdoğan’s remarks and called it “an unprecedented attack on German sovereignty.”
German Chancellor Merkel also said she would not tolerate any interference in the German elections.