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Germany Considers Erdogan's Comparisons With Nazis 'Unacceptable'

20 March 2017, 09:51 | Taylor George

Michael Probst Thousands of Kurds Protest Against Erdogan in Germany

Thousands of Kurds celebrate the Newroz spring festival and protest against Turkish President Erdogan

The autocrat Islamist president, who is seeking sweeping new powers through a referendum next month, is angry that German and Dutch authorities blocked his surrogates from addressing rallies to garner support among ethnic Turks there for the "yes" vote - in one case even escorting a minister to the border to prevent her from speaking.

Erdogan recently accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of supporting terrorists and she is one of a handful of European leaders who have recently incurred Ankara's wrath in a dispute over bans on Turkish ministers organizing rallies overseas.

Germany, home to 1.4 million Turkish voters, hosts by far the largest Turkish diaspora community in the world but the partnership between Ankara and Berlin has been ripped to shreds by the current crisis.

Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel responded to Erdogan's comments by calling them "shocking".

Germany and Turkey have been caught up in a fresh spat after a rally backing outlawed Kurdish fighters in Turkey was held in Frankfurt and a top German intelligence official made controversial comments on last summer's failed coup against the Turkish government.

Turkey's president, who has angered European allies with charges of fascism and anti-Turkish skulduggery, took grievances to the sporting arena on Monday, accusing the International Olympic Committee of playing tricks to stop Istanbul hosting the event. "Because these are useful instruments for Germany to use against Turkey", the Erdogan spokesman said.

Observers say the importance of the diaspora vote which traditionally gives strong support to Erdogan is viewed as increasingly key given that opinion polls indicate the result is too close to call.

"We are tolerant but we are not idiots".

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However, German intelligence agency chief Bruno Kahl told German news magazine Der Spiegel that Turkey "has not succeeded" in backing up this claim.

European Union officials have repeatedly warned Turkey that restoring capital punishment would spell the end of its over half century bid to join the bloc.

To become law, the bill would still need to be signed by the head of state.

Despite the row, Altmaier said he was not anxious for the future of the EU-Turkey migration deal, which was struck one year ago to stop the migrant influx into Europe.

The death penalty was abolished in 2004, during Turkey's application to join the UE. The PKK is fighting the Turkish State and is designated internationally as a terrorist organization.

And Gabriel told Der Spiegel: "We are further away than ever from Turkey's accession to the European Union".

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen on Sunday said he was summoning the Turkish ambassador for an explanation after a report that dual nationals critical of Erdoğan had been threatened.



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