"Europeans everywhere won't be safe in streets" - Erdogan

Mar 22, 2017- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Europeans across the world would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude.

While tensions between Europe and Turkey have boiled in recent weeks, acrimony over Turkey's belief that some European countries are harboring suspected terrorists has festered for years.

In March, Germany infuriated Turkey after it prevented Turkish ministers from campaigning in the European country for a "Yes" vote in the upcoming referendum.

Ankara has said such behaviour was reminiscent of Nazi Germany and also raised alarm over what it sees as rising racism and Islamophobia.

On Tuesday, Erdogan repeated his criticism of Germany and other European countries, saying today's "fascist and cruel" Europe resembled the pre-World War Two era.

Erdogan did not elaborate.

Erdogan also said Turkey could no longer be pressured by considerations such as a $6 billion migrant deal, under which it agreed to stop illegal migrants from crossing into Greece in exchange for financial aid and accelerated European Union membership talks.

That would give Mr Erdogan, as president, new powers over the budget and the appointment of ministers and judges, as well as the power to dismiss parliament.

Earlier this month, the Turkish foreign minister was barred from landing in the Netherlands, and supporters of the Turkish government scuffled with police who tried to end a demonstration at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

Relations have strained between Europe and Turkey - especially with Netherlands and Germany - after Turkish ministers were blocked from speaking with citizens during large gatherings for a "yes" vote.

Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul on Sunday: "Merkel, now you're applying Nazi methods".

He urged Turkey to stop accusing Germany of acting like the Nazis did and release German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who has been detained since January on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred.

The Turkish president said Wednesday that Turkey presented Germany with 4,500 files concerning extradition requests and activities linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, whose separatist insurgency against the Turkish state began in 1984. Newspaper Verdens Gang said they feared being arrested on returning to Turkey. He said Berlin should not rely on local and state governments to make decisions about visits by Turkish politicians as it has up to now.

Turkey on Sunday protested a pro-Kurdish rally in Frankfurt where demonstrators carried symbols of the PKK, which is listed as a terror organisation not just by Turkey but also the European Union and the United States.

  • Leroy Wright