Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said he recently told his European counterparts that foolish acts on the part of Europeans have increased the public support for a constitutional reform package which will be put to a public vote in mid-April.
Speaking in the southern province of Isparta on Tuesday, Çavuşoğlu said: “I recently went to the foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Foreign ministers of leading European countries told me there, ‘Oh, your [yes] vote has risen to 60 percent, our surveys indicate.’ I told them, ‘Thanks to you, there has been your contribution, your foolish acts have brought us the vote.”
Relations between Turkey and Europe have been severely strained since Turkish ministers were prevented from campaigning on the continent for a “yes” vote in this month’s referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s powers.
Ankara has said such behavior was reminiscent of Nazi Germany and also raised the alarm over what it sees as rising racism and Islamophobia.
Germany branded as “unacceptable” Erdoğan’s charge that Chancellor Angela Merkel was using “Nazi measures” but signaled it wanted to avoid escalating the feud.
In January, Turkey’s Parliament passed the constitutional amendments later approved by Erdoğan that would transform the political order into an executive-style presidential system, effectively widening the scope of powers of the position.
The referendum on the constitutional amendments will be held on April 16.