The ongoing diplomatic spat between Turkey and the EU escalated further when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of ‘applying Nazi methods’ against Turks and Turkish officials in Germany.
The accusations come after Germany, as well as several other EU member countries, prevented Turkish government officials from holding campaign rallies in support for the Turkish constitutional referendum that aims to significantly expand presidential powers.
Turkey has also accused Germany of supporting an exiled Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government blames for the failed coup attempt in July last year.
In response to harsh comments made by Turkish officials, Chancellor Angela Merkel called Turkey to tone down rhetoric:
My statement stands that the Nazi comparisons coming out of Turkey need to stop. No ifs or buts. Unfortunately these comparisons have not stopped and we will not allow the excuse that the end justifies the means, leading to each taboo being broken without consideration of the suffering of those that were persecuted and murdered under the Nazis.
Merkel said speaking from the CEBIT trade fair in Hanover.
Martin Schultz, former EU Parliament President and Merkel’s chief opponent in Germany’s upcoming federal election, also denounced statements from Turkey.
“I have just heard it and seen a short excerpt of the clip from the speech of Mr. Erdogan. This is impertinent, it´s shameless that an ally insults the head of this country,” he said.
Recent tension between Ankara and Brussels threatens to undermine the EU-Turkey migrant deal. Last week Erdogan said the EU “forget about” Turkey re-admitting failed asylum seekers who had reached Europe via Turkey, a key part of the agreement.
An end to the EU-Turkey migrant deal could renew the influx of refugees into Europe, at the time when the EU is struggling to find mechanisms to cope with the migrant crisis.
Image: The Independent