Sat Sep 9, 2017 06:16PM
A Turkish flag is placed in a window (background) as people take part in a demonstration of the right-wing extremist Identitarian movement on June 17, 2017 in Berlin's Wedding District, Germany. (Photo by AFP)
A Turkish flag is placed in a window (background) as people take part in a demonstration of the right-wing extremist Identitarian movement on June 17, 2017 in Berlin's Wedding District, Germany. (Photo by AFP)

Ankara has warned Turkish citizens about traveling to “anti-Turkey” Germany, advising nationals to take precautions when visiting the European country.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry made the comments in a statement released on Saturday, adding that the words of caution came after an upswing occurred in, what it described as, anti-Turkish sentiment ahead of German federal elections later this month, when voters will elect members of the 19th Bundestag, or the German parliament.

“Turkish citizens who live in, or who plan to travel to, Germany should be cautious and act prudently in cases of possible incidents, behavior or verbal assaults of xenophobia and racism,” the statement read.

Eligible German voters will go to the polls on September 24 to elect the new Bundestag, a constitutional and legislative body at the federal level, which will in turn elect a chancellor with an absolute majority of its legislators. The next chancellor will in turn form a new government.

Several candidates will compete in the elections, including incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

“The political leadership campaigns in Germany are based on anti-Turkey sentiment and preventing our country’s EU membership. The political atmosphere... has actually been under the effects of far-right and even racist rhetoric for some time,” the statement said.

Ties between Turkey and Germany have been strained over a host of issues since the 2016 failed coup against the government in Ankara. Berlin has been critical of Ankara’s post-coup crackdown and the arrest of German citizens, while Turkey accuses the European country of harboring “terrorist” organizations, which are against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The two countries have also clashed over Germany’s alleged support for Kurdish opponents and its opposition against a controversial referendum in Turkey last April, which gave Erdogan sweeping new powers. German authorities at the time prevented some pro-Erdogan campaigns in the country, a move that infuriated the Turkish president.

Germany is home to some three million ethnic Turks. The country allowed in the Turks in the 1960s and 1970s as part of its massive post-war "guest worker" program.

Turkey has been trying to become a member of the European Union since the 1960s. Formal EU accession talks began in 2005, but the process has been plagued by problems. The EU has opened 16 out of the 35 chapters required for Turkey to join the 28-nation bloc, but only one of them has so far been concluded.