ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's president on Friday blamed Germany for escalating tensions, condemning the country's mainstream parties and urging German-Turkish voters not to support them in upcoming elections.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey "bears no responsibility" to reduce tensions, adding Germany was the main party responsible.
Saying that the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats were "battering Turkey" for votes in the upcoming federal election on September 24, Erdogan urged Turkish-Germans to not support any of the mainstream parties.
"Neither the Christian Democrats nor the SPD nor the Greens. they are all enemies of Turkey," he said. Pointing out that there are nearly 1 million Turkish voters in Germany, he said that this is a matter of pride and added: "I think it is necessary for them to teach a lesson at the ballot box to these political parties who have attacked and disrespected Turkey."
Relations between the two countries has increasingly soured in recent weeks. Turkey accuses Germany of providing a safe haven to Kurdish militants and suspects wanted for alleged links to last year's failed coup, while Germany protests the arrest of several of its citizens in Turkey since the coup, including German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel who was detained in February on suspicion of aiding forbidden groups and German human rights campaigner Peter Steudtner detained among other activists for allegedly aiding an unspecified armed terror group.
Asked about the formal note Turkey submitted to Germany on Wednesday demanding extradition of top coup suspect Adil Oksuz, Erdogan said he expected Germany to "take the necessary steps" in this matter.
He said that, just as Germany is requesting the return of its citizens, Turkey is requesting that its terrorists be extradited, "plus they're asking for criminals, we are asking for terrorists."
He added that the Turkish judiciary would rule on the matter of the German citizens and Turkey would do what was needed after the ruling.