Germany says Turkish President Erdogan's Nazi comparisons are unacceptable

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said Turkey's Nazi comparisons demeaned the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust and distracted from the real threat of growing anti-Semitism and right-wing populism. Tensions between Turkey and Europe have boiled.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said after an April referendum Turkey may review relations with Europe, which he described as "fascist and cruel" and resembling that of the pre-World War Two era.

Turkish officials will take part in no further campaign rallies in Germany ahead of an April 16 referendum in Turkey, organisers said on Tuesday, after a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they were not welcome in the country.

"These developments are being watched in all corners of the world", he said.

Erdogan did not elaborate. While it is questionable whether the spat between Turkey and Europe would ignite global indignation against the West, the president's remarks are followed closely by his supporters in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member country with significant numbers of Western residents and visitors.

"Credible signals to ease tensions are welcome", said Steinmeier.

The announcement by the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) underscored a sharp deterioration in relations between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Germany and Turkey ahead of the referendum on boosting the powers of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

In his first speech as president, Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier has issued a stark warning to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying he risked destroying everything his country had achieved in recent years and damaging ties with its partners. He was recently Germany's foreign minister.

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.

In a news conference broadcast live on television, Kurtulmus also lashed out at weekend comments from Germany's spy chief, who said Ankara had not provided convincing evidence that a US -based Muslim cleric was behind a failed coup last July.

On Monday in Berlin, the german government's deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said the authorities of the state of Hesse were responsible for security affairs in the region, and not federal authorities.

"Foreign election coordination centers will be continuing their operations", the official said, adding that previously scheduled political rallies could still take place in Europe. "That is not acceptable", he said, adding that Berlin should not rely on local and state governments to make decisions about visits by Turkish politicians, as it has up to now.

The Turkish government argues the changes are necessary for stability but critics fear it will lead to one-man rule.

  • Leroy Wright