With less than a month to go before the German election, the leader of the Social Democrats has taken a hard line when it comes to Ankara.
In a television interview, Martin Schulz said he was prepared to act tough with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, if he is elected chancellor.
“How long do we want to stand idle as Mr. Erdogan leads us by the nose? At one point we will reach the stage where we have to say that legal norms must be accepted and the people freed,” he said, referring to the thousands jailed following last year’s (2016) failed military coup in Turkey.
It comes amid ever-increasing diplomatic tensions between the two countries and a call from Erdogan for the estimated 1.2 million German Turks not to vote for Schulz’s SPD Party, the Greens or current Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU Christian Democrats.
Opinion polls suggest Merkel is ahead in the race for the Bundestag, despite Schulz’s accusations that she is out of touch with voters.