Turkey's Erdogan compares German behaviour with Nazi period

  • Turkey's Erdogan compares German behaviour with Nazi period

Turkey's Erdogan compares German behaviour with Nazi period

Germany is home to the largest population of Turks outside Turkey with around three million in the country of Turkish origin, the legacy of a massive "guest worker" programme in the 1960s-70s.

In a televised speech in Istanbul earlier on Sunday, Erdogan accused that German government "has nothing to do with democracy" and its "practices make no difference to the Nazi practices in the past", referring to the blocking of Turkish community gatherings by German local authorities citing security reasons.

Erdogan has cracked down on his opponents since a failed military coup a year ago.

Ankara imposed a state of emergency in the wake of the botched July coup attempt, which critics say has been used for a clampdown not just on the coup plotters but also on Erdogan's opponents.

German politicians were quick to hit back at the remarks, which came amid sharply deteriorating relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation powers. Mass arrests and dismissals in professions from the military to academia, journalism to science, have been heavily criticised in the West.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government wasn't involved in canceling the rallies, saying the decisions were "taken by municipalities, and as a matter of principle, we apply freedom of expression in Germany".

"We will go where we want to go, we will meet with our citizens and we will have our meetings", said Cavusoglu in response to Rutte's post. "We thought that era was in the past, but apparently it isn't".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel replied to the criticism from Ankara, saying that the federal government had nothing to do with decisions made exclusively by local authorities. But they may damage economic ties at a time when Turkey faces rising unemployment and inflation.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern on Sunday called for a European Union-wide ban on campaign appearances by Turkish politicians to avoid having individual member countries like Germany come under pressure from Ankara.

Volker Treier, foreign trade expert with Germany's DIHK Chambers of Commerce, said recently German exports had dropped since mid-2016 and forecast a decline of at least 5 percent in 2017.

Meanwhile, at an election campaign event in Amsterdam, Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders also resorted to extreme-right comparisons, calling Erdogan an "Islamo-fascist leader".

The deputy leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, Julia Kloecner, said Erdogan was "reacting like a willful child that can not have his way".