Turkish leader under fire over 'Nazi' swipe at Angela Merkel

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2017

The Turkish strongman over the weekend escalated his war of words against Europe and especially Germany, his country's most important ally.

The tensions between Ankara and Berlin continue to increase as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's spokesperson stated that additional rallies in support of Erdoğan will be held in Germany and Turkish ministers will attend them.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday her demand that Turkey cease drawing Nazi comparisons with Germany and its allies applies "without ifs or buts", and pointed to a government threat last week that it could prevent Turkish politicians entering the country.

Authorities in Germany have blocked some Turkish ministers from holding rallies, infuriating Ankara.

Turkish officials noted that the protesters had waved banners of a group that is itself illegal in Germany, with the ministry saying that allowing the rally to go ahead was the "worst example of double standards".

The PKK sympathizers carried banned posters and flags during the rally in Frankfurt and shouted anti- Turkey slogans, even though the Interior Ministry on March 2 updated its list of prohibited PKK symbols to include the image of the terrorist organization's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan.

He also said that most Turkish people living in Europe shared European Union values and made a positive contribution to Europe's economy.

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Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Europe was seeking to "whitewash" Gulen's group, while Defence Minister Fikri Isik said the comments raised questions about whether Berlin itself was involved in the putsch. "Because these are useful instruments for Germany to use against Turkey", the Erdogan spokesman said.

To become law, the bill would still need to be signed by the head of state.

He added that the death penalty was a "red line", however: "If the death penalty is reintroduced in Turkey, that would lead to the end of negotiations".

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he anxious that the conflict would spill over to ties between German citizens and those of Turkish descent.

The ban on Turkish officials campaigning in various European states has triggered a crisis in Ankara's relations with the EU.

Erdogan last week even called on Turks living in Europe to have more children to tilt the demographic balance on the continent.

The Berlingske daily quoted dual nationals or those of Turkish origin who said they were warned they would be denounced for "high treason" or have their family harassed back in Turkey over anti-Erdogan remarks on social media.

Other reports by GizPress

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