Turkey says German FM copying ‘racists, far right’
ANKARA - Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik Wednesday accused German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of copying the "far-right and racists" in his statements in an ongoing diplomatic crisis with Turkey.
"Gabriel is not making original statements. He speaks by 'copying' from the far-right and racists," Celik wrote on Twitter in a tirade of 29 tweets criticising Gabriel and his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz.
"It can be seen that the German foreign minister has reached the same level as the refugee enemy and symbol of racist politics: the Austrian foreign minister," Celik said in another tweet.
Austria, like Germany, has previously been locked into a bitter spat with Turkey.
Last month, Vienna blocked Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci from entering the country to attend a rally marking the anniversary of last year's failed coup attempt.
Celik said attacks by "racists, fascists and enemies of Islam" against Turkey or President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meant "nothing" to Ankara.
The Turkish minister accused Gabriel of trying to "sabotage" Turkey-EU relations and "giving racists a message of 'you're right'".
Gabriel on Tuesday said Erdogan's strident style "had apparently led some to feel motivated to try to threaten and harass my wife".
The row between Ankara and Berlin is showing no signs of slowing down as both sides make tit-for-tat remarks against each other following comments made by the Turkish head of state.
Erdogan last week urged ethnic Turks in Germany to vote in September 24 elections against German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and two other parties he labelled "enemies of Turkey".
Gabriel said at the time that Erdogan wanted to incite people in Germany against each other in "an unprecedented act of interference in the sovereignty of our country".
Kurz on Sunday condemned "the constant interference by Erdogan in the internal affairs of other states," and suggested Germany was not the only country where Turkey interfered.
Turkey repeatedly claims Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, is sheltering Kurdish militants and wanted coup plotters.
Erdogan himself hit back at Gabriel personally at the weekend, telling him: "Know your limits."