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Two of Germany’s leading Turkish organisations are upset about the recent spate of criticism levelled against Azerbaijan by a magazine and by a member of the SPD.
The Verein zur Vorderung der Ideen Atatuerks (Ataturk Foundation) and Zentralrat der Tuerken in Deutschland (Committee of Turks in Germany) have written to SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel and to Der Spiegel to complain about a series of negative remarks made about Azerbaijan by a SPD Member of Parliament from Muenster.
In the letters, the two German Turkish groups described a recent Der Spiegel article entitled “Azerbaijan Seeks to Burnish Image Ahead of Eurovision” as “misleading, prejudiced, and close to libelous against the nation that represents the closest cultural brothers of the three million Germans of Turkish ethnic background.”
The article highlighted the negativity of SPD Bundestag member, Christoph Strasser, who is – according to the Turkish orgnisations – heavily biased.
The letter to Mr. Gabriel pointed out that millions of Turkish votes are at stake in Germany, and the groups asked him to examine the actions and rhetoric of Strasser, who has engaged in a long-running war of words with Azerbaijani officials over a visit to the country in his capacity as rapporteur for the Council of Europe.
Azerbaijan has said it is willing to consider inviting Mr. Strasser provided he agrees to come with an open mind and be fair and impartial. Strasser has repeatedly criticised the country and has publicly admitted he would write a negative report, even before visiting.
“For the past two years, a few SPD Bundestag members, together with Mr. Strasser, have been conducting a private war against Azerbaijan,” the letters said.
Addressing Sigmar Gabriel directly, the Turkish groups said “in writing this letter to you, we would ask you to see if you and the entire SPD agree with Mr. Strasser’s war against our brothers.”
“We do not know why Mr. Strasser, MP for SPD from Muenster, is conducting this private crusade against our Azeri brothers,” the letters to Gabriel said. “Neither do we understand why suddenly all these attacks are orchestrated from all these different directions. But we do wish to point out that this one-man war by Mr. Strasser and his anti-Azeri allies is deeply unfair and should stop.”
The letter to Mr Gabriel suggested he should listen to the concerns of the Turkish groups in Germany so that his party does not face a “noisy wake up call at the next federal elections in Germany.”