President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday told German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to “know your limits” after he vehemently criticised the Turkish leader for interfering in Germany’s upcoming elections.
“He knows no limits! Who are you to talk to the president of Turkey? Know your limits. He is trying to teach us a lesson… How long have you been in politics? How old are you?” Erdogan said in a bitter personal attack on Gabriel.
Erdogan had a day earlier caused consternation in Berlin by urging ethnic Turks in Germany to vote against both parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition in the September 24 legislative elections.
Gabriel condemned Erdogan’s comments as an “unprecedented act of interference” in Germany’s sovereignty.
“Of course they got uncomfortable. They all started jumping up and down,” remarked Erdogan in a speech to supporters in the southwestern province of Denizli.
Erdogan repeated his controversial call to ethnic Turks eligible to vote in the German elections not to cast their ballots for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), their coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SPD) or the Greens.
“Teach them (the three parties) a lesson in the German elections. They are waging a campaign against Turkey. Vote for those who don’t have enmity towards Turkey.”
He added: “It’s not important for us whether Germany opens its doors to us or not. We have enough doors.
“We will go to countries that have opened their doors and we will open our doors to them,” said Erdogan.
Analysts estimate that some 1.2 million people of Turkish origin will have the right to vote in the September polls as German citizens.