German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday urged Turkey to end accusations of Nazism against her country amid tensions over the cancellation of political rallies of Turkish ministers on German soil.
Merkel said the comparison with the Nazi era is sad, while noting the importance of Turkey as an ally.
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 an upcoming referendum that will introduce an executive presidency in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Germany of employing practices similar to those of the Nazi era.
“I thought that Nazism had 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.”
On Monday, Merkel condemned Erdoğan’s remarks likening the cancellation of several rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany to “Nazi practices.”
Merkel also asked for release of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, who has been under arrest in Turkey due to alleged terrorist propaganda accusations.
Earlier in the week, Merkel accused Erdoğan of minimizing the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, saying, “Comparisons with Nazis always just lead to one thing – to belittle those crimes.”
“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.