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Turkey’s Erdogan accuses Germany of 'Nazism' amid row over rallies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is upset that some municipalities in Germany denied the use of meeting spaces for rallies that aimed to muster support from Turks living in Europe in the upcoming referendum on presidential powers.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a Women's Day rally in Istanbul, Turkey, March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTS11IUT

What good is it if a man gains great political power but permanently loses his country and its international partners? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan might soon find out.

Erdogan is running an increasingly divisive campaign in the run-up to the April 16 referendum to possibly expand his role in Turkish politics. In recent days, his tone has become more disdainful and dangerous than usual. On March 5, it was reported that several German municipalities had canceled rallies by a Europe-based Turkish nongovernmental organization allied with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The rallies would have involved speeches by ministers of Erdogan’s AKP with the intention of whipping up votes to pass the referendum among Turkish citizens living in Germany and other European countries. Erdogan blamed the cancellations on the German federal government and charged that the move was “not much different than Nazi practices.” The irony here is that Erdogan uttered remarks in 2016 that some observers interpreted as admiration for Adolf Hitler.

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