The German Chancellery has described as “absolutely unacceptable” recent remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comparing German authorities to Nazis for banning Turkish officials from holding campaign events in Germany.
The Turkish comparison between German officials and Nazis is “absolutely unacceptable,” said Peter Altmaier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, on Monday.
In an interview with ARD public broadcaster, Altmaier said German officials had committed nothing to provoke such criticism. “There is absolutely no reason to allow ourselves to be reproached over this,” he said.
Chancellor Merkel’s chief of staff said the Turkish government was obliged to accept German officials’ decision to cancel pro-Erdogan rallies across the country. “The government will make this very clear” to Ankara, he said.
Last week, Berlin blocked three Turkish rallies aimed at promoting a “yes” vote in a referendum on constitutional reforms in Turkey next month.
The cancellation of the political rallies, which aimed to garner votes from the 1.5 million Turks residing in Germany for Erdogan in the April 16 referendum, prompted Turkish anger. Erdogan, on Sunday, accused Germany of “fascist actions” reminiscent of Nazi practices. Turkey also said it would go ahead with campaign events in Germany regardless of the ban.
On the same day, the deputy party leader of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party compared Erdogan to a “willful child that cannot have his way.”
Earlier, and also in reaction to the German ban, Erdogan had said Germany “harbored” terrorism.
Turkey has also detained a German-Turkish reporter over accusations that he was a German agent.
The reporter, Deniz Yucel, who works for a leading German newspaper, Die Welt, is also accused of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, outlawed by Ankara.
Apart from Germany, the Netherlands has also introduced a ban on pro-Erdogan rallies. Recently, Austria called on all European Union (EU) countries to enforce a ban on any pro-Erdogan campaigning ahead of the Turkish referendum.
Austria also called on the EU to halt membership talks with Turkey and reconsider the terms of a multi-billion-euro aid package promised to Ankara.