Germany does not own other EU states, says Turkish FM

WARSAW, Poland

Germany should understand it is not the boss of other EU or EU-candidate states, Turkey's foreign minister said on Friday.

Speaking at a news conference in Poland's capital Warsaw, Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, asking: "Are you the governor of Turkey?"

The German minister had said Berlin held a responsibility for the 48 percent of Turks who voted against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Gabriel's remarks were widely criticized by Turkish politicians from Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

"Can we say, as Turkey, that we are responsible for those who do not vote for Gabriel's party?" Cavusoglu said, adding that German politicians "need to understand that they are not the owners [or] patrons of other EU countries or non-EU countries like Turkey".

The Turkish minister's comments referred to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent call on other EU member states to rule out renewing a European customs union with Turkey.

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said on Thursday Germany was embroiling Turkey in its domestic politics ahead of its Sept. 24 general election.

Erdogan last week also urged Turks in Germany not to vote for "hostile" parties in the country's upcoming federal election.

I ask all my citizens not to support [major parties] including the Christian Democrats, the SPD or the Greens. They all are enemies of Turkey," he said.

Sigmar Gabriel later criticized the Turkish president's remarks, saying they constituted interference in the German general election.

Relations between Turkey and EU nations, particularly Germany, have been damaged by a series of disputes following the defeated coup of 2016, in which 250 people were martyred.

There are an estimated 3 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany. Around one million can vote.

Source: Anadolu Agency