Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN - The German government on Monday rejected Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's comparison of current German policies to the Nazi era, urged both sides to stay "calm and level-headed" and not lose sight of the close ties that bind the two NATO allies.
"We firmly reject any comparisons between the policies of the democratic Federal Republic of Germany and the Nazi times," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference. "Such comparisons are always absurd and out of place because they lead to only to one thing: a trivialization of crimes against humanity."
Seibert said Germany would continue to allow Turkish politicians to speak in Germany as long as they were open about their intentions and did not import Turkish conflicts to Germany. He also said the European Union should investigate to ensure that funds paid to Turkey to pave the way for its accession to the EU were achieving their intended purpose.
Turkish president Erdogan compares German conduct with Nazi period
On Sunday, Erdogan stepped up his rhetoric against Germany in a growing row over the cancellation of political rallies aimed at drumming up support for him.
"They thought Tayyip Erdogan would go to Germany. If I want to go to Germany I will and if you don't let me in through your doors, if you don't let me speak, then I will make the world rise to its feet," Erdogan told a meeting in Istanbul.
German authorities withdrew permission last week for two rallies by Turkish citizens in German cities, at which Turkish ministers were to urge a "Yes" vote in a referendum next month on granting Erdogan sweeping new presidential powers.
The planned rallies were part of a Turkish government campaign to win support among Germany's 1.5 million-strong Turkish community for sweeping new presidential powers going to referendum in April 16.
The German authorities cited security concerns.
"Germany, you have no relation whatsoever to democracy and you should know that your current actions are no different to those of the Nazi period," Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul.
"When we say that, they get disturbed. Why are you disturbed?"