German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out trading provocations with Turkey on March 16 after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sharply criticized bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany and the Netherlands.
Merkel told regional newspaper Saarbruecker Zeitung that Erdoğan’s accusation this week that she supported militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was “absurd.”
“I don’t intend to participate in this race to trade provocations,” she said. Referring to Erdoğan’s remarks on the Netherlands, she added: “The insults need to stop.”
The Turkish president has accused Germany of “fascist actions” for cancelling several planned rallies by the foreign and family ministers, and has branded the Netherlands “Nazi remnants” for banning a rally in Rotterdam last weekend.
Merkel hit back at Erdoğan for the Nazi comparisons, saying they are “unworthy” of the close ties that the two countries share and of their people.
She reiterated that Turkish politicians wanting to make appearances in Germany needed to openly disclose who wanted to appear and for what purpose and then stick to the laws and principles of Germany’s constitution.
“Furthermore, we’re looking at the situation afresh every day and are not giving anyone a carte blanche for the future,” Merkel said.
Erdoğan mounting criticism of the two countries, part of a drive to win support among Turks living abroad for the April 16 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, has recently strained Ankara’s ties with European capitals.