Reiterating Nazi accusations against Germany, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and again accused her of Nazism amid strained ties between the two countries.
“Merkel, you are engaging in Nazi practices against my Turkish brothers who live there, against my ministers and deputies who go there,” Erdoğan said in a speech in İstanbul.
Erdoğan also reiterated his claim that Merkel has been supporting terrorists, in reference to jailed Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel in Turkey.
“You are asking us for a terrorist agent,” Erdoğan said, claiming that the judiciary in Turkey is independent. In reference to journalist Yücel, Erdoğan said, “He appeared in court and was arrested,” defending the imprisonment of the Die Welt’s Turkey reporter.
Following Erdoğan’s similar accusations earlier, Merkel had condemned Erdoğan’s remarks, likening the cancellation of several rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany to “Nazi practices.”
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.”
“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 an upcoming referendum that 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.
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 Friday the pro-Erdoğan Güneş daily depicted Merkel as Hitler on its front page.
Putting Merkel in a Nazi uniform with a Hitler-style moustache, the daily called the chancellor a “Female Hitler.”
Accusing Germany harboring terrorists, the daily also claimed that Berlin is inciting all of Europe against Turkey: “Trying to be the leader of fascists, Merkel creates anti-Turkish enmity using Germany’s backyard — Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium.”