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.
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."