Merkel says Turkey must put an end to ‘unacceptable’ Nazi remarks against Germany

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) listens on as German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during their meeting at the Presidential Palace on February 2, 2017 in Ankara. Merkel on Thursday said she had raised concerns over freedom of expression in Turkey in bilateral talks in Ankara with President Erdogan. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has responded to recent comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accusing Merkel of engaging in Nazi tactics, saying Turkish politicians must end such remarks against Germany.

Speaking during a press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Hannover on Monday, Merkel said, “My comment that the Nazi comparisons on Turkey’s part must end is without question valid.”

She also added: “Unfortunately, we see that these comparisons have not ceased, and we are not going to allow … every taboo to be broken with no regard to the suffering of those who were persecuted and murdered under Nazism.”

Merkel’s spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, also characterized Erdoğan’s Nazi comparisons as “unacceptable” in a statement on Monday.

During a speech in İstanbul on Sunday, Erdoğan said, “Merkel, you are engaging in Nazi practices against my Turkish brothers who live there, against my ministers and deputies who go there.”

Erdoğan’s comments came as part of a row that has been escalating since Germany and the Netherlands earlier in March prohibited Turkish ministers from campaigning within their borders for an upcoming referendum in Turkey.

Schulz: Erdoğan’s Nazi remarks ‘impertinence’

Meanwhile, former European Parliament President and leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) Martin Schulz called Erdoğan’s Nazi remarks “impertinence.”

This is impertinence. The fact that the head of state of a friendly country insults the country’s governor in this form is impertinence,” Schulz told German ARD TV on Monday.

Underlining that he supports the ban on Turkish ministers who want to wage referendum campaigns in Germany, Schulz said, “There is no place in Germany for those who want to use their diplomatic immunity for making party propaganda.”

Schulz also described Erdoğan’s remarks as “unworthy of a head of state.”

Speaking to the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper on Monday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Erdoğan’s comments were “shocking.”

We are tolerant, but we’re not stupid. That’s why I have let my Turkish counterpart know very clearly that a boundary has been crossed here,” Gabriel said.

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