26th Apr 2019

German MPs targeted by Turkish nationalists

  • The Bundestag in Berlin. Eleven MPs of Turkish origin have been placed under police protection after death threats. (Photo: Herman)

A German MP has called for an entry ban to Germany for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 11 MPs including her were placed under police protection following death threats from Turkish nationalists.

Sevim Dagdelen, from the Left Party, told Bild newspaper that "anyone in Turkey who calls for violence against members of the German parliament should get an entry ban" to Germany.

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"This includes president Erdogan," she said in an interview on Sunday (12 June).

Dagdelen and 10 other MPs, all of Turkish origins, received the threats in a backlash to the vote by the German Parliament, on 2 June, on a resolution saying the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 was a genocide.

The 11 MPs were singled out by Erdogan, who said they were a "mouthpiece of terrorist organisations", that their blood was "impure" and should be "tested in a laboratory".

"What kind of Turks are they?" Erdogan asked about the German members of parliament.

Ankara's mayor Ibrahim Melih Gokcek, a close Erdogan ally, tweeted a photo of the 11 MPs with a caption saying they had "stabbed [Turkey] in the back" and a hashtag calling them traitors who should be deprived of their citizenship.

Turkish activists have used social networks to attack and threaten the MPs.

The German foreign affairs ministry advised the MPs against going to Turkey because their security could not be guaranteed.

Another targeted MP is Green Party co-chairman Cem Oezdemir, who initiated the genocide bill.

Last week he said that although "insults and threats have started to become normal", the new flurry had "taken things to a new level".

On Monday, he ruled out any Turkish EU membership as long as Erdogan ruled the country.

"There will be for sure no EU membership under Erdogan," Oezdemir told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"But in the long term, we have an interest in a democratic Turkey in Europe," he said.

With the escalation of the row between the German MPs and Turkey, chancellor Merkel could be obliged to criticise Erdogan, with whom she has tried to keep good relations in order to manage the refugee crisis.

After Turkey's angry reaction to the Bundestag vote, she said last week that "accusations and statements which have been made by the Turkish side [were] incomprehensible". She added that cooperation between Berlin and Ankara remained "broad and strong", however.

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