Turkey’s president has furiously attacked Germany after at least three political rallies due to be held by Turkish ministers in Germany were cancelled by local authorities.
The Turkish government representatives were aiming to seek support among Germany’s large Turkish population over an upcoming referendum.
After Turkey’s foreign minister accused Berlin of backing opposition to the proposed constitutional changes which would give the president greater powers, Recep Tayyip Erdogan went further.
In a speech in Istanbul, he alleged a German newspaper journalist being held in Turkey was both a German spy and a “representative” of the outlawed Turkish rebel group, the PKK.
The Turkish president accused Berlin of harbouring the reporter at the German consulate in Istanbul for a month before agreeing him to hand him over.
“They need to be put on trial for aiding and abetting terrorism, the situation is so obvious and clear,” President Erdogan said. “Now they are asking us: ‘why are you whipping up the issue?’ Just you wait, we have only just started. We are going to expose all that you have done one by one in several international meetings.”
There is outrage in Germany over the detention in Turkey of Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel.
The dual-national has been charged with spreading “terrorist propaganda” after his work, about a hacker attack on the email account of Turkey’s energy minister, displeased the authorities.
Germany’s foreign ministry has called the claims “absurd”.
Berlin also says it had no part in decisions made by local councils to stop the rallies.
Amid the escalating diplomatic tension, the foreign ministers of both countries have agreed to meet next week.