Turkey’s recent travel advisory warning citizens of xenophobia and racism in Germany is a “bad joke,” offending the country’s dignity, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said amid the heated spat between the two NATO allies.

“Turkey’s travel warning against Germany is a bad joke!” Peter Altmaier, head of Merkel’s chancellery office, wrote on Sunday in an emotional tweet.

“Baseless imprisonment for many Germans is unjust! Nazi comparisons offend our honour!” he said, referring to previous exchanges between Ankara and Berlin, in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly accused the German government of employing “Nazi practices.”

On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry warned citizens to “be careful” and keep their composure in the face of “racist and xenophobic slurs.”

“It is advised for our citizens in Germany or planning to visit this country to be even-tempered, keep themselves out of political discussions and absent themselves from rallies held by terrorist groups ahead of the elections,” the ministry said on its website. 

The travel advisory also accused German leaders of employing “anti-Turkish rhetoric” in their election campaigns, and of blocking Turkey’s accession into the EU.

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