Merkel condemns Erdoğan’s ‘Nazi’ accusations amid strained ties with Turkey

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French President Francois Hollande (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for an informal summit of heads of continental Europe's biggest economies focusing on the Brexit, on March 6, 2017 in Versailles. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Martin BUREAU

Amid strained relations with Turkey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent remarks likening the cancellation of several rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany to “Nazi practices.”

Speaking during a business forum in Berlin on Monday, Merkel said, “One cannot even comment on such utterances; they are not justifiable.”

Accusing Erdoğan of minimizing the atrocities committed by Nazi regime, she added, “Comparisons with Nazis always just lead to one thing – to belittle those crimes.”

Earlier on Monday, Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert called for calm and said the two countries should “remember the special meaning of our close relationship and let cool heads prevail.”

“What makes it really serious – and in my opinion even rather sad – is that Nazi comparisons only ever lead to one thing, namely that the incomprehensible suffering of the victims of National Socialism is cheapened. And that’s why such statements automatically disqualify themselves,” the German chancellor said.

Furious with German authorities for not allowing Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi to deliver speeches in some German towns during which the ministers would ask for support from Turkish expatriates for upcoming referendum which will introduce an executive presidency in Turkey, Erdoğan accused Germany of employing practices similar to those of the Nazi era.

I thought that Nazism has ended in Germany. But it seems your practices are no different from the Nazi practices of the past,” he said during a speech in İstanbul on Sunday.

Underlining that the cancellations were an attempt to prevent his arrival in Germany, Erdoğan said: “I will come to Germany if I want to. If you don’t let me in or if you don’t let me speak, I will make the whole world rise up.”

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