Europe should support opposition to Erdoğan, German foreign minister says
AP photoGerman Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Aug. 21 that Berlin and the rest of Europe should support the “democratically minded” majority of Turks who do not back President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a dramatic hardening of Germany’s position towards Ankara.
The remarks, delivered at a campaign event for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), come amid sharply deteriorating relations between the NATO allies, after Erdoğan urged German Turks to boycott Germany’s main parties in next month’s election.
“More than half the country is democratically minded. They didn’t support him,” Gabriel said at the meeting in the western Saarland region, according to the German Foreign Ministry.
“I believe that many in Turkey are counting on Europe and Germany supporting Turkish democracy and not looking on helplessly,” he added.
Gabriel also accused supporters of Erdoğan of threating his wife, saying the personal nature of Erdoğan’s attacks on him had emboldened people to make threats against his wife at the dental surgery where she worked.
“Erdoğan’s approach clearly motivates some people to try to threaten and harass my wife. Of course, this is a terrible outcome,” he said, without giving further details.
On Aug. 19, Erdoğan has slammed Gabriel, who has frequently criticized the president’s leadership and his treatment of opponents and critics.
“Who are you to talk to the president of Turkey?” Erdoğan said in a televised speech. “Know your limits. He is trying to teach us a lesson ... How long have you been in politics? How old are you?”