>> Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan's face on a campaign poster. But this isn't Turkey, this is Germany, just days before a German national election. It's addressing the million or more German-Turkish voters here who are caught in a tug of war for their loyalty.>> I'm Reuters Rosanna Philpot in Berlin where campaigning ahead of the election is clearly underway.
But relations between Ankara and Berlin have deteriorated so badly that Erdoğan has actually asked Turkish German citizens not to vote for mainstream parties. He calls them enemies of the Turkey.>> The man behind this campaign poster, Remzi Aru, founded the first Turkish-German party last year.>> The message is very simple.
The message is, what Erdoğan said, he said give your votes to parties who are not enemies of Turkey, who are Turkish-friendly. And there's only one party who's not doing politics against Turkey. There's only one single party, and that's mine, it's very dangerous. And we're the opposition.>> Turkish-Germans are the biggest ethnic minority group in Germany and possibly Europe.
Whilst parties battle for their vote, Erdoğan and Germany's Angela Merkel trading barbs. Merkel hinted in a TV debate last week, she would seek and end to Turkey's EU membership talks. While Erdoğan has cautioned his country men from travelling to Germany, saying anti-Turkish sentiment there has made it unsafe.
Some of Berlin's Turkish community told Reuters that the tensions are unwelcome and unnecessary.>> Can Erdoğan forbid anyone anything, he can maybe speak about his recommendations but he can't forbid me anything. It's his opinion and it is a democratic country and should stay that way.>> The outcome of this ongoing feud could have a major impact the German election.
Merkel's main opponent, Martin Schulz, says Erdoğan's interference could sway 300,000 votes. But Turkish community leaders from the big political parties say the effect is not only short term. And the Erdoğan´s intervention is undoing decades of work on promoting integration in Germany.