'The EU needs Turkey to solve its problems'

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Turkey's foreign ministry has issued a travel warning for Turkish citizens living in or traveling to Germany, citing increased right-wing and racist rhetoric ahead of Germany's September 24 parliamentary election. In a statement issued on its website, the ministry said the political atmosphere in Germany was "under the effect of increasing far-right and even racist discourses" as the election campaign was based on "an anti-Turkey sentiment" and efforts to obstruct its European Union accession bid, warning Turkish citizens to "be careful" and keep their composure against "racist and xenophobic slurs".

Turkey has warned its citizens visiting Germany to "be careful" and guard against "far-right and racist propaganda", prompting an angry reaction from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior German politicians.

Ankara claimed there was "discrimination" against Turks "on the basis of their political views", which has led to "verbal attacks against some of our citizens".

Her rival, Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz, has called for immediately halting Ankara's European Union membership talks and freezing its €4 billion ($4.68 billion) in pre-accession funds.

However, EU foreign ministers shrugged off the idea of scrapping Ankara's membership bid at a meeting on Friday, instead stressing the need for dialogue.

The agency said they had both been held as part of investigations into a network of supporters of USA -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Turkish authorities for a failed military coup past year, and Kurdish militants in Syria.

Terrorists "walk freely on the streets" of Germany, the ministry charged.

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The ministry said Turkish citizens were being subjected to ill treatment at German airports.

About 3 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany.

Merkel's strong words prompted a swift rebuke from Ankara, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman on Monday accusing German politicians of pandering to populism.

"We should not push Turkey ... away".

Furthermore, Erdogan said some European leaders displayed Nazi-like behaviour after his ministers were barred from campaigning in some cities. More than 50,000 people have been detained and 150,000 suspended in the crackdown, including journalists and opposition figures. Scores of journalists are in jail and media houses have been shuttered.

Despite all this, Turkey and Europe previous year reached a deal on stemming migration flows from Turkey to the continent, highlighting the importance of the often frayed partnership.

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