German Writer Detained in Spain at Turkish Request

"German voters, including ones with Turkish background, have a right to vote freely", the chancellor said, accusing Erdogan of "meddling".

The chancellor was speaking late Monday at an election rally of her Christian Democratic Union in Gelnhausen, a town of just over 20,000 about 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of Frankfurt.

Addressing Merkel as "Madam", Erdogan said the Turkish authorities had sent Germany dossiers on 4,500 suspects wanted for extradition to Germany on terror charges and received no answer.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter: "We expect foreign governments to not interfere in our internal affairs". The visit was since confirmed by Gulen himself, but he denied that this indicated his own involvement in the coup, describing it as "jumping to conclusions".

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Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had bitterly condemned Erdogan's comments as an "unprecedented act of interference" in Germany's sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Turkey has accused Germany of protecting suspects who allegedly played a role in the failed coup attempt past year as well as supporting US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen who Turkey claims is responsible for the events.

The Customs Union agreement between Turkey and the EU entered into force in 1995 and covers all industrial goods but does not include agriculture, services or public procurement. They soured further after Turkey arrested 10 human rights activists, including the director of Amnesty International and a German citizen, in July.

Major General Baqeri's trip to Ankara came days ahead of a planned visit by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

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He added that the European countries preferred to raise tensions with Turkey instead of supporting Ankara's fight against terrorism.

Gabriel said his government has been concerned for years over issues like "restrictions on the freedom of the press, treatment of the Kurdish minority" in Turkey.

Turkey also blocked Berlin lawmakers from visiting their troops stationed in southern Turkey.

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