Thousands of Turks gathered in Berlin to hear their country’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speak on Tuesday.
Germany is home to the largest diaspora of Turkish nationals and Erdogan used his speech to garner their support in Turkey’s forthcoming elections.
He also used Tuesday’s speech to try to damage his opponents’ reputation. While the Prime Minister’s Justice and Development (AKP) Party is still looking strong in most pre-election polls his image has been damaged by a recent corruption scandal.
“Lying is the opposition’s business,” he said. “It is what they are taught to do. They try to slander others and think they can irreversibly stain people’s reputations. But I say, you cannot conceal the sun with dirt and filth.”
Turkish law was changed in 2012 to allow citizens living abroad to cast ballots in national elections. With around three million Turks currently residing in Germany, Erdogan will be looking to seal their votes.
While the prime minister was addressing his supporters, an anti-Erdogan protest was taking place at the capital’s Brandenburg Gate, where demonstrators called for “true democracy”.
The rallies took place a matter of hours after the prime minister met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a bid to gain greater backing for Turkey’s campaign to join the European Union.