* Gabriel interview published in Der Spiegel magazine
* Says ties with Britain after Brexit may offer "blueprint"
* Warning to Turkish politicians planning rallies
BERLIN, March 18 German Foreign Minister Sigmar
Gabriel said in an interview with news magazine Der Spiegel
published on Saturday that Turkey has never been less likely to
join the European Union than now, as relations between Ankara
and Berlin hit a low point.
"Today Turkey is definitely further away from becoming a
member of the European Union than ever before," Gabriel said in
He also said that he always had doubts about whether Turkey
should join the EU but found himself in the minority in his
Social Democrat (SPD) party.
Before taking power in Germany in 2005, Chancellor Angela
Merkel was an outspoken opponent of Turkey's membership and
instead called for a "privileged partnership".
Gabriel disliked that idea because he thought it would make
Turks feel like second-class Europeans but he said his opinion
had changed since Britain's decision to leave the EU.
"Today the situation is totally different due to Brexit.
We'd be well advised to bring about a 'special relationship'
with Great Britain after its exit from the EU," Gabriel said.
"That will be an important learning process for the EU and
perhaps some of it can serve as a blueprint for other countries
in the long term," Gabriel said.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is courting Turks abroad
for support in an April 16 referendum that would grant him
sweeping new powers.
He infuriated Germany and the Netherlands by describing bans
on planned rallies by Turkish ministers as "fascist". The arrest
of a Turkish-German journalist in Ankara has also caused upset.
Gabriel said Erdogan was taking advantage of a sentiment
many people of Turkish origin have in Germany that they are
neither accepted nor welcomed.
He said Germany should avoid reacting in kind to
provocations from Turkey because that would only give Erdogan
the "who needs a bogeyman for his campaign".
He also warned Turkish politicians that they could be banned
from holding rallies in Germany if they do not stick to German
laws: "Whoever crosses these lines cannot expect to be allowed
to propagate his political ideas here."
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Julia Glover)