Erdogan makes Nazi comparison as row grows over banning of rallies in Germany

The row over Turkish ministers holding political rallies in some EU countries has intensified, with the Turkish President making a Nazi comparison in criticising German bans on the meetings.

The Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has called for an EU-wide ban on the rallies, which have already been cancelled in some Germany cities, angering Turkey.

The Netherlands is also looking at banning such meetings.

The Austrian head of state says individual countries should not be coming under pressure from Ankara.

Turkey is attempting to seek support among ex-pat Turks for an upcoming referendum on controversial plans to extend the powers of the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Some city officials have cited security concerns for cancelling the rallies, but others have admitted they do not want the meetings to be used for propaganda purposes by Turkey.

Adding to the controversy on Sunday, Erdogan made a Nazi comparison as he slammed the actions in Germany to ban the rallies.

He said the German actions to stop the meetings were “no different to those of the Nazi period”.

“We don’t want to see the Nazi world anymore,” said Erdogan at a political meeting in Istanbul.

“We don’t want to see their fascist actions. We thought that era was in the past, but apparently it isn’t,” he continued. “Germany, you have no relation whatsoever to democracy.”

He added: “We will talk about Germany’s actions in the international arena and we will put them to shame in the eyes of the world,” he continued.

Ankara earlier said that it would defy the bans and continue to meet with the large populations of ex-pat Turkish residents.

The deputy leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Julia Kloecner, said Erdogan was “reacting like a willful child that cannot have his way”.

“The Nazi comparison is a new high point of intemperance,” she told the Bild newspaper.

Saying Erdogan must apologise for the Nazi comparison, Kloecner said: “True statesman do not speak in such terms.”

Far-right leader in the Netherlands, Gert Wilders, said: “If I were prime minister today, I would declare that at least until mid April, when they have this referendum in Turkey, I would call the whole cabinet of Turkey persona non grata for a month or two.”

Relations between Turkey and Germany have also been strained over public outrage and protests in Germany over Ankara’s arrest of a Turkish-German journalist.

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