Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Germany of reverting to Nazism after Berlin cancels Turkish political rallies in the country.
On Sunday, Erdogan accused Germany of “fascist actions” reminiscent of the Nazi era amid escalating tension concerning the cancellation of political rallies aimed at gathering support for his April referendum among Germany’s 1.5 million Turks.
On April 16, Turkey will hold a referendum aimed at abolishing the office of the prime minister and giving more executive powers as an honor to the currently largely ceremonial position of president.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office is yet to respond to Erdogan’s remarks but the deputy leader of her Christian Democratic Union party said the he was “reacting like a willful child that cannot have his way.”
Last Week, Berlin blocked two Turkish rallies aimed at promoting a “Yes” vote in next month’s constitution reforms rally.
“Germany, you have no relation whatsoever to democracy and you should know that your current actions are no different to those of the Nazi period,” said Erdgoan during a rally. “When we say that, they get disturbed. Why are you disturbed?”
“We will talk about Germany’s actions in the international arena and we will put them to shame in the eyes of the world,” Erdogan noted. “We don’t want to see their fascist actions…We thought that era was in the past, but apparently it isn’t.”
Germany claims the rallies were canceled by local officials over security concerns.
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The cancellations come as Turkey has detained a German-Turkish reporter over accusations that he is a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
Erdogan has referred to the reporter — who works for the German newspaper Die Welt — a “German agent” and accused Berlin of “aiding and harboring terror.” Germany has denied such allegations.
Meanwhile, Austria has called on the European Union to enforce an outright ban on campaigns supporting a “Yes” vote in Turkey’s upcoming referendum.