Turkey summons Swiss ambassador over anti-Erdogan protest in Bern, sources say

Turkey's relations with the European Union countries have soured over the past few months after Germany and the Netherlands canceled planned campaign rallies on their territories by Turkish officials seeking to drum up support among expatriate Turks for a "yes" vote in the April referendum.

"We will put this (EU-Turkey) business on the table because Turkey is no one's whipping boy", he added, indicating that Ankara could reconsider its relationship with Brussels.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused Germany and the Netherlands of behaving like Nazis for halting some rallies by Turkish ministers, comments that both countries have called unacceptable.

He also informed that in May he will meet with US President Donald Trump.

Switzerland has not blocked the campaign events, but Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu did call off a visit earlier this month after the hotel he had booked for a rally refused to host it.

The Turkish referendum, to be held on April 16, will introduce several constitutional amendments and switch parliamentary system to presidential system.

In November 2016, the European Parliament passed a resolution to freeze EU accession talks with Turkey until it "halts repression", aiming at the lift of "disproportionate repressive measures" in Turkey under the state of emergency.

In the referendum Turks will decide whether to approve constitutional changes that would create an executive presidency and would see the role of prime minister axed.

Reacting to criticism from main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Erdogan said Turkey in the last 15 years under the leadership of the AK Party had developed more than ever without any coalitions. His Greek counterpart, Nikos Kotzias, said it was in Europe's interests that Turkey should be democratic and leaning towards Europe but that Turkey itself would determine its own path.

Ankara has said such behaviour was reminiscent of Nazi Germany, and Erdogan warned on Wednesday that Europeans risk being unsafe on the world's streets if they did not modify their behaviour.

Last week, Mr Erdogan said the European Union could "forget about" Turkey re-admitting failed asylum seekers who had reached Europe via Turkey, despite a previous agreement to do so.

  • Leroy Wright