Turkey accuses Germany of 'Nazi' practices; rift deepens
A diplomatic rift between Turkey and key European nations deepened yesterday as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of "Nazi practices", days after a local authority prevented a Turkish minister from addressing a rally.
Over at an election campaign event in Amsterdam, meanwhile, Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders also resorted to extreme-right comparisons, calling Erdogan an "Islamo-fascist leader".
The diplomatic tensions have been rising in recent days amid Turkish plans to have government ministers address rallies in Germany and the Netherlands in support of an upcoming constitutional referendum that would give Erdogan new powers.
Speaking in Istanbul, the Turkish president fanned the flames with a stinging verbal attack.
"In Germany, they are not allowing our friends to speak. Let them do so. Do you think that by not allowing them to speak, the votes in Germany will come out 'no' instead of 'yes?'" Erdogan said. "Germany, you don't have anything to do with democracy. These current practices of yours are no different than the Nazi practices of the past."
On Thursday, Turkey's justice minister cancelled a meeting with his German counterpart after local authorities in southwest Germany withdrew permission for him to use a venue to hold a rally near the French border that was part of a campaign to get Turks in Germany to vote "yes" in the referendum.