Erdogan says yes vote best response to 'fascist Europe'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, rear, listens to the speech of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier after a swearing in ceremony as part of a joint meeting of German parliamentarians in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey has repeatedly accused Germany of using Nazi tactics to ban ministerial appearances and has caused anger in Germany by holding German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel. Steinmeier's decision to focu.

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

Turkey has accused its European allies of using what it has likened to "Nazi methods" by banning Turkish ministers from addressing rallies of Turks in Europe.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn told Germany's Bild daily that "with regard to the strict accession criteria, Turkey has been moving further and further away from the EU for some time".

Yucel, a correspondent for Germany's Die Welt newspaper, was arrested after his report about a hacker attack on the email account of the Turkish energy minister, who is Erdogan's son-in-law.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Kurtulmus also said European countries need to take measures against racism.

The April 16 plebiscite is aimed at abolishing the office of the prime minister and giving more executive powers, including issuing decrees, declaring emergency rule, appointing ministers and state officials and dissolving the parliament, to the now largely ceremonial position of president.

In January, Greece granted asylum to some Turkish servicemen suspected of involvement in the July 15 uprising, which killed about 270 people and prompted a massive crackdown on suspected collaborators.

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

Ties between Turkey, Germany and other European countries have deteriorated in recent weeks amid growing tensions over the April referendum vote and concern over an increasingly authoritarian tone from Ankara. Germany dismissed Erdogan's claims as absurd.

Meanwhile the mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, has opposed a rally of Recep Tayyip Erdogan scheduled at the beginning of April.

  • Leroy Wright