Monday

16th Oct 2017

Erdogan's Nazi jibes sour EU relations

  • Erdogan's crackdown after last July's failed coup was "trampling on human rights" Austria's Kern said (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Germany of Nazi-type behaviour after German municipalities banned pro-Erdogan rallies, in a widening EU backlash that also includes Austria and the Netherlands.

“Your actions are no different from what the Nazis used to do … We no longer want to see the Nazi world. We don't want to see the practices of those fascist regimes,” Erdogan told an assembly in Istanbul on Sunday (5 March).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Erdogan: "If you don't let me speak, I will make the whole world rise up" (Photo: tccb.gov.tr)

"If I want to, I will come to Germany. If you don't let me in or if you don't let me speak, I will make the whole world rise up,” he said.

He added that he would “humiliate [Germany] before the world” at future international events.

His remarks came after local authorities in three German towns - Gaggenau, Cologne, and Frechen - prevented Turkish ministers from holding campaign rallies with Turkish expats ahead of Turkey’s constitutional referendum on 16 April.

Some 1.5 million German Turks are eligible to vote in the referendum, which aims to consolidate power in Erdogan’s presidential palace, giving him the right to hire and fire ministers and judges and to write the country’s budget, amid other provisions.

The German towns cited security and logistical issues, while the German foreign ministry denied any federal role in their decisions.

Austria had already banned pro-Erdogan rallies last week, with its chancellor, Christian Kern, saying on Sunday that there should be an EU-wide moratorium.

“A collective EU response to prevent such campaign events would make sense so that individual countries like Germany where appearances are forbidden don't end up being pressured by Turkey,” he told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

He added that Erdogan was “trampling on human rights and basic democratic rights" at home.

Referring to an upcoming Turkish rally in Rotterdam, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, also said on Facebook on Friday: “We believe that the Dutch public space is not the place to conduct another country's political campaign”.

Turkey’s economy minister, Nihat Zeybekci, did speak at two events in German towns on Sunday.

But other Turkish ministers and Turkish state media echoed Erdogan’s "Nazi" line.

Turkey's justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, accused Germany of “purely fascist practice."

Its culture minister, Nabi Avci, said that “the discourses of some small Nazi remnant parties” had become “mainstream” in Germany and The Netherlands.

A pro-Erdogan newspaper, the Daily Sabbah, stated that Germany was “best known for orchestrating the Holocaust” and that it was quashing investigations into arson attacks on mosques.

“German politicians, including members of the European Parliament, must be denied entry to Turkey ... German troops stationed at the Incirlik Air Base must be sent back home,” the publication went on to add.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has stayed quiet on the Nazi jibes, while German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that the dispute “should not wreck the foundations of the friendship between our countries.”

The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, also told the ARD broadcaster that if Berlin overreacted it would push Erdogan ”straight into the arms of [Russian president Vladimir] Putin, which no one wants".

But other German politicians were less forgiving.

Julia Kloeckner, the deputy leader of Merkel's CDU party, said Erdogan was "reacting like a defiant child who cannot have his way."

“The Nazi comparison is a new high point of intemperance. It is simply outrageous”, she said.

Volker Kauder, another senior CDU deputy, said: “It is unbelievable and unacceptable that the president of a Nato member speaks about another member-state like that”.

The popular German newspaper Bild called on Merkel to draw a "red line" in her relationship with Erdogan.

It also called on her to free herself of the "handcuffs of the migrant deal”, referring to an EU-Turkey accord to stop Syrian refugees from coming to Europe.

Journalist in jail

The row over the Turkish rallies comes amid an earlier dispute over Turkey’s arrest of a German-Turkish journalist, Deniz Yucel.

The correspondent for the Die Welt newspaper has been accused of spreading “terrorist propaganda” after writing a story that was critical of Erdogan’s son-in-law, who is also Turkey’s energy minister.

Yucel is being held in solitary confinement and faces over 10 years in prison.

Erdogan in a speech on Friday said that the reporter was “a representative of the PKK”, a Kurdish separatist group, and that he was a “German agent, [who] was hidden for a month in the German consulate”.

A source in the German foreign ministry told the Reuters news agency the same day that the claim that Yucel was a German spy was “absurd”.

German-Turkish tensions rise over cancelled campaign events

Two German towns cancelled campaign events by Turkish ministers to rally support for Erdogan's consitutional reform amid escalating tensions between the two countries over the detention of a prominent German-Turkish journalist.

Turkish referendum pivotal for EU relations

The outcome of the upcoming Turkish referendum, which would grant president Erdogan sweeping new powers, is almost too close to call. The result will have a huge impact on EU-Turkey relations.

Erdogan signals new era in EU relations

Turkish leader dismissed international critics and spoke of reinstating death penalty after referendum win, signalling new era in EU relations.

Opinion

EU can still end Rohingya ethnic cleansing

If European leaders speak and act now, there's a chance ethnic cleansing could end before the last Burmese Rohingya is killed, captured, or exiled.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  2. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  3. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  4. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  5. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities
  6. In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies
  7. Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo
  8. Turkey urges EU not to break off ties

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupBrexit: Delaying the Start of Negotiations Is Not a Solution
  2. EU2017EEPM Ratas in Poland: "We Enjoy the Fruits of European Cooperation Thanks to Solidarity"
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and UK Discuss Deepening of Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceEHLA Joins Commissioners Navracsics, Andriukaitis and Hogan at EU Week of Sport
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Representative Office Opens in Brussels to Foster Better Cooperation
  6. UNICEFSocial Protection in the Contexts of Fragility & Forced Displacement
  7. CESIJoin CESI@Noon on October 18 and Debate On: 'European Defence Union: What Next?'
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Support Start-Ups
  9. ILGA EuropeInternational Attention Must Focus on LGBTI People in Azerbaijan After Police Raids
  10. European Jewish CongressStrong Results of Far Right AfD Party a Great Concern for Germans and European Jews
  11. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  12. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China