Turkey deserves to host Olympics, President Erdoğan says

Turkey summoned Germany's ambassador to express its fury over a Frankfurt rally where protesters brandished insignia of outlawed Kurdish militants, the presidential spokesman said on Sunday, denouncing it as a "scandal".

There is a possibility that Turkish ministers could plan another rally in Germany ahead of an April 16 referendum on changing the constitution, President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Sunday, a move that could further heighten tension with Berlin.

"But you are right now employing Nazi measures", Erdogan said referring to Merkel, pointedly using the informal "you" in Turkish.

The row erupted after authorities in Germany and other European Union states refused to allow some Turkish ministers to campaign for a "yes" vote for the April 16 referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be replaced with an executive presidency on their soil.

Majority hold dual nationality and are therefore eligible to vote in the Turkish referendum.

"Against whom? Against my Turkish brothers and sisters in Germany, against my minister brothers and sisters, against parliamentary brothers and sisters who travel there".

He said Germany was treating terrorists as legitimate actors while calling meetings between Turkish politicians and citizens in Germany "dangerous", a reference to the recent ban in German cities on referendum rallies by Turkish politicians.

"We have hosted 659 worldwide sports organizations since 2003 and have proved that we have the capability", he said.

The voters in Turkey and millions of others overseas will decide on April 16 if they want a profound set of constitutional changes to significantly expand presidential powers.

Adding to Ankara's anger, many Kurds attending the Frankfurt rally carried pictures of the imprisoned leaderof the PKK Abdullah Ocalan.

Turkey accuses Gulen of heading a group called the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO) which masterminded the coup with the aim of ousting Erdogan from power. "Because these are useful instruments for Germany to use against Turkey", he said.

A German satirist's poem poking fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the arrest of a German-Turkish journalist in Istanbul have further fanned tensions between the two countries.

Erdogan has dubbed Merkel and the Dutch government "fascists" and accused them of engaging in "Nazi practices" after both Germany and the Netherlands prevented campaign events for expatriate voters ahead of Turkey's referendum.

  • Leroy Wright