The relations between Berlin and Ankara deteriorated after Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yucel was arrested in Istanbul in February on charges of participation in a terror organization, misuse of data, and terrorism propaganda. The situation was aggravated when, in early March, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag was barred from speaking to Germany's local Turkish community ahead of the Turkish referendum on constitutional amendments. The move prompted strong criticism from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who compared Berlin to Nazi authorities.
Turkey, along with Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro, is currently a candidate for EU membership. The country's eligibility for candidacy was declared in 1997.
The Turkish referendum on constitutional amendments, which will enhance the judiciary and legislative powers of the Turkish president, is scheduled for April 16.