Erdogan’s Nazi References ‘Not Tolerable,’ Merkel Ally Says

  • Volker Kauder echoes Merkel in saying Erdogan must stop
  • Turkish president calls Europe ‘racist, fascist, oppressive’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s continued verbal attacks against European leaders are “simply not tolerable,” a top ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as tensions between the European Union and the Turkish government began to boil over.

Volker Kauder, the caucus leader of Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc in the lower house of parliament, said Erdogan’s repeated comparisons of European actions to Nazism placed Turkey “far outside” the European mainstream.

“The comparisons with National Socialism are simply not tolerable and position Turkey far away from Europe,” Kauder told journalists on Tuesday in Berlin. A day earlier, Merkel renewed her demand that Turkish leaders stop making Nazi comparisons, “no ifs, ands or buts.”

Turkey’s relations with Europe have plumbed new depths, with Erdogan continuing to attack EU leaders after a series of cancellations of campaign rallies by Turkish ministers drumming up support for the country’s April 16 referendum to overhaul the government. European leaders have condemned Erdogan’s plans to concentrate power in Turkey in the hands of the presidency.

The Union of European Turkish Democrats, an organization with links to Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, said that it wouldn’t organize any more Turkish political rallies in Germany before the referendum, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported, citing UETD’s general secretary, Bulent Bilgi.

The Turkish president let loose again on Tuesday in Ankara, decrying a Europe that he said resembles the political environment prior to World War II. “It is the racist, fascist and oppressive Europe -- it is the Europe of the Middle Ages; it is the enemy of Turks and Islam,” Erdogan said.

Merkel, at a press conference with the president of Burkina Faso in Berlin, was asked whether Erdogan’s latest comments had crossed a “red line.” The German chancellor said she had nothing to add to remarks she made on Monday in Hanover alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in which she demanded again that the Nazi talk stop.

“Unfortunately we’ve observed that these comparisons haven’t stopped,” Merkel said. “We won’t allow the end always to justify the means so that every taboo collapses, without any attention offered toward those who were oppressed and murdered under National Socialism.”

— With assistance by Selcan Hacaoglu

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