In a heated address on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the compatriots living in Germany not to vote for the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) or the Greens in the upcoming elections, calling them "enemies of Turkey". "Holding the referendum will get Iraq, but also Iran and Turkey, involved, and that's why the authorities of the two countries emphasize that it is not possible and should not be done".
Tensions increased after the abortive coup attempt against Mr Erdogan in July 2016, in which at least 240 people died. In April, Turks narrowly backed a referendum to change the constitution and grant Erdogan sweeping executive powers.
President Erdogan blamed the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen over the coup plot, and accused Germany of protecting Gulenists.
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri met Erdogan on Wednesday on a visit Turkish media said was the first to Turkey by an Iranian military chief of staff since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. He added that this was now a matter of pride and that they should instead vote for political parties that didn't oppose Turkey. While most were placard-waving CDU supporters, several dozen supporters of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, blew whistles and shouted at Merkel.
But he said he expected Turkish origin voters to "teach a lesson to the parties which are disrespectful to Turkey" when they cast their votes in a "struggle for honour". Germany has a large Turkish diaspora and it contains a broad range of opinion on Turkish politics.