02:04 GMT +316 October 2018
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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a Women's Day rally in Istanbul, Turkey, March 5, 2017

    Berlin Explains Why 'Erdogan is Using Germany as External Enemy'

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    After the Turkish president further escalated his rhetoric toward Berlin, calling the German chancellor's "anti-Turkish" statements "Nazism," Berlin released a statement explaining its attitude toward the war of words.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to portray Germany as an external threat in order to divert the Turkish citizens' attention away from domestic issues, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Wednesday.

    "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is using Germany as an external enemy in order to conceal the internal divisions [in Turkey]," Gabriel said in an interview with the Nordwest Zeitung newspaper.

    The German foreign minister added that Erdogan's game was not worth playing.

    The relations between Berlin and Ankara have soured over several months after Germany banned several Turkish officials from coming to the country to campaign for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of a referendum that granted him more executive powers. Erdogan then compared the authorities in Berlin with Nazis.

    In May, Ankara canceled a German delegation's visit to the Incirlik military airfield in Turkey, where German military personnel and jets were stationed, the day before the visit was scheduled to begin. In early June, Berlin responded to Ankara's move by announcing the withdrawal of its troops from the base, which started in July.

    The already strained relations have been further damanged as a result of the statements made by main German chancellor candidates Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz during debates held earlier this month, who voiced opposition to Turkey's membership in the EU. The Turkish president compared the "anti-Turkish" to "Nazism."


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