Erdogan Accuses Germany of 'Nazi Practices' over Blocked Political Rallies
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has lashed out at Germany for blocking several rallies on its soil before an April vote in Turkey on boosting his powers, likening its stance to Nazi practices.
“Your practices are not different from the Nazi practices of the past,” Erdogan said of Germany at a women’s rally in Istanbul, ahead of a 16 April referendum on whether to approve changes to the constitution.
“I thought it’s been a long time since Germany left [Nazi practices]. We are mistaken,” he said.
Several German towns prevented appearances by Erdogan’s ministers last week, citing security and safety concerns, the Guardian reported.
The cancellations have infuriated the Turkish government, which accused Berlin of working against the “yes” campaign in the referendum and summoned the German ambassador to the foreign ministry in protest.
“You will lecture us about democracy and then you will not let this country’s ministers speak there,” said an angry Erdogan, adding that Germany was not “respecting opinion and thought”.
Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, on Saturday called Binali Yıldırım, Turkey’s prime minister, to try to defuse the row, and the two countries’ foreign ministers are set to meet later this week.
Relations between Turkey and Germany lurched into crisis after the arrest and incarceration of a German-Turkish journalist in Turkey.
Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for Die Welt, was formally arrested last week pending a trial on charges of propaganda and incitement to hatred. Erdogan claimed the journalist was a German spy and a representative of the outlawed Kurdish rebel group PKK.
Erdogan accused Berlin of harboring him for a month at the German consulate in Istanbul before agreeing to hand him over to authorities. “They need to be put on trial for aiding and abetting terrorism,” Erdogan said during a speech on Friday.
His comments came hours after Turkey’s justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, was prevented from holding a rally in a south-west German town.