Wednesday

28th Jun 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).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

EU extends sanctions on Russia

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia hadn't done enough to implement the so-called Minsk peace process, a condition for lifting the sanctions.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEGet the Latest News from the 2017 Estonian EU Council Presidency @EU2017EE
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  3. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  4. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  6. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  7. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  8. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  9. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  10. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  11. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  2. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  3. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  4. Dialogue PlatformMuslims Have Unique Responsibility to Fight Terror: Opinon From Fethullah Gülen
  5. EUSEW17Check out This Useful Infographic on How to Stay Sustainable and Energy Efficient.
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Criticises the Juncker Plan's Implementation
  7. UNICEF1 in 5 Children in Rich Countries Lives in Relative Income Poverty, 1 in 8 Faces Food Insecurity
  8. International Partnership for Human Rights26 NGOs Call on Interpol Not to Intervene Versus Azerbaijani Human Rights Defenders
  9. Malta EU 2017Significant Boost in Financing for SMEs and Entrepreneurs Under New Agreement
  10. World VisionYoung People Rise up as EU Signs Consensus for Development at EU Development Days