Diplomatic Rift Deepens Between European Union and Turkey

Erdogan compares German conduct with Nazi period

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Germany’s conduct with its Nazi period earlier on Sunday.

Erdogan was furious with the German government’s decision to block rallies in support of him prior to the April vote in Turkey which will seek to boost the President’s powers.

Erdogan’s attack came after local authorities in Germany, a country which has a significant Turkish minority, banned rallies ahead of the April 16th referendum that will seek approval for changing the Turkish constitution, essentially boosting Erdogan’s powers.

Erdogan said on Sunday during a women’s rally in Istanbul:

In Germany, they are not allowing our friends to speak. Let them do so. Do you think that by not allowing them to speak the votes in Germany will come out ‘no’ instead of ‘yes?’ Germany, you are not even close to democracyYour practices are not different from the Nazi practices of the past. I thought it’s been a long time since Germany left (Nazi practices). We are mistaken.We will talk about Germany’s actions in the international arena and we will put them to shame in the eyes of the world,

There are over one and a half million Turks living in Germany eligible to vote in the referendum and Erdogan’s outburst on Sunday was due to German local authorities withdrawing permission for 2 rallies held by Turkish citizens, during which Turkish ministers would have been present for urging a Yes vote in the aforementioned referendum from next month.

According to some, the new referendum, if passed, will grant Recep Erdogan sweeping (almost dictatorial) presidential powers. Angela Merkel had no comment on Erdogan’s remarks but Julia Kloeckner, who is the deputy leader of Merkel’s party (CDU) said that the Turkish president is:

reacting like a stubborn child that cannot have his way;the Nazi comparison is a new high point of intemperance.

Christian Kern who is the Chancellor of Austria repeated his opinion about severing the ties and pulling the plug on bringing Turkey into the European Union during a recent interview with Welt am Sonntag.

“We shouldn’t just temporarily suspend the accession talks with Turkey but end them. We can’t continue to negotiate about membership with a country that has been steadily distancing itself for years, during ongoing access talks, from democratic standards and principles of the rule of law.”

The same situation is developing in Holland, where the government is considering halting a rally planned for next week during which Turkish officials are reportedly due to speak. The Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte  was quoted as saying on Saturday that his government:

“is looking at all legal avenues to prevent such a visit.We believe that Dutch public space is not the place for political campaigns of other countries,”

AP Yahoo