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Politics

In Germany, 'Turks are ignoring' Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey's attempts to influence German domestic affairs "will not undermine" the elections, German Deputy Interior Minister Krings told DW in an exclusive interview. "Turks are ignoring" the president, the minister said.

Watch video 08:13

Krings: Turkey's claims are 'just ridiculous'

German Deputy Interior Minister Günter Krings told DW on Monday that Turkey's attempts to tarnish Germany's image by telling Turkish citizens they face a dangerous situation in the country are "just ridiculous."

Relations between Ankara and Berlin have taken a nosedive since Turkey launched a massive crackdown in the wake of a failed coup in 2016. Last week, the Turkish Foreign Ministry cautioned its citizens to take care in Germany during the election cycle.

Read more: Turkey detains two more German nationals

"There are no Turkish journalists in German prisons, or other Turkish nationals that are imprisoned for political reasons or prosecuted by the German government," Krings said.

"(But) we are very concerned that German journalists, for example, are sitting in Turkish prisons for no real reason, at least nothing convincing."

At least 12 German citizens have been arrested in Turkey on political grounds, including several journalists.

Günter Krings speaks at a conference on Islam in Berlin

Günter Krings has criticized Turkey's attempts to influence the German elections

'Much too smart'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged ethnic Turks residing in Germany not to vote for the Anatolian nation's "enemies," including Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

But Krings told DW that while Turkey's attempts to influence German domestic affairs can make integration "more difficult," it "will not undermine" the German democracy or the outcome of elections slated for September 24.

Read more: Turkey-EU relations: Which countries are for or against Turkish accession?

"Many Turks are ignoring this, but I'm afraid some might take it seriously. We don't take it very seriously at the party because I think the ones that are inclined to vote for a Christian party will not be influenced by Erdogan. They're much too smart to take this seriously," Krings said.

Krings discussed the impact of fake news, migration challenges and the future of counter-terrorism in an exclusive DW interview.

You can watch the video here or at the top of the page.

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