After Nazi slur, Germany and Turkey seek to mend diplomatic ties

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's worldwide broadcaster, the BfV said divisions in Turkey leading up to the controversial April 16 referendum on boosting the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were mirrored in Germany.

Since last week, German and Turkish politicians have traded barbs over the banning of events by Turkish officials visiting Germany in a bid to boost support ahead of the April 16 vote on whether to create an executive presidency in Turkey. Analysts say this restrained response is in part due to the fact that German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces re-election this year and needs Ankara's cooperation in continuing to stem refugee flows into Europe. In Ankara President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Turkish voters living overseas not to be put off casting their ballots in the country's upcoming referendum despite so-called "obstacles "being put in place in countries like Germany".

Tensions are likely to increase further after a German local authority Monday canceled at the last minute the use of a venue for a referendum meeting by Turkey's energy minister, Taner Yildiz.

"A huge anti-Turkey, anti-Erdogan attitude is being systematically produced and serviced to the world, especially through Germany", Kalin said at a televised news conference in Ankara on Thursday.

"The next steps in this case will be taken once we have that analysis", the ministry said in an email.

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu insisted: "We have not called anyone a nazi".

German officials have cited problems with overcrowding and fire safety, and other issues.

At least four German local authorities have withdrawn permission for pro-Erdogan campaign events, while several rallies have gone ahead and the central government has emphasised it was not involved in the decisions.

They are also backing the "No" campaign, arguing that the proposed constitutional changes would undermine democracy in Turkey.

Cavusoglu also hinted at speaking about the referendum in the Netherlands, despite Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte opposing the idea.

There's been a growing diplomatic row between the two countries after concerns of overcrowding resulted in German authorities cancelling two rallies in support of Mr Erdogan's government in Cologne and Gaggenau. On Saturday, Erdogan said during a rally in Istanbul that such moves were no different than the practices of Nazi Germany. German leaders would continue to warn its three million strong Turkish community where next month's referendum could lead: into an "increasingly autocratic state".

"Rather Germany should take steps to get rid of the restrictions we are now facing in terms of the access we have to millions of voters living in those countries", he said.

  • Leroy Wright