ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey uses metaphors about Nazism with respect to its European friends as it is worried about them falling again into the trap of the ideology, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday.
Germany and Turkey are at loggerheads after Berlin banned some Turkish ministers from speaking at rallies meant to drum up support among expatriate Turks ahead of a referendum next month that may give President Tayyip Erdogan greater powers.
Germany has grown angry with Erdogan repeatedly accusing it of applying “Nazi methods” by banning the rallies on security grounds. On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded again that Turkey stop making such comparisons and said her government reserved the right to block future appearances by ministers unless Ankara complied with German law.
Kurtulmus said Turkey was trying to warn Europe over what it sees as European politics being taken hostage by rising racism.
“We make these metaphors about fascism and Nazism because we worry about the future of our European friends. We do know what these comments mean, particularly in Germany,” Kurtulmus told a news conference in Istanbul.
“European countries are the ones that suffered the most from fascism and Nazism between the end of World War One and World War Two. We are seeing and hearing the footsteps of fascism and Nazism now,” he said.
“We are not saying this to hurt them...We are saying this so that they will remember those bloody days in recent European history and not fall into the trap of fascism again. We are saying this so that they can take precautions.”
He said Europe was behaving in an anti-democratic manner by blocking elected Turkish ministers from speaking in European cities while allowing what he described as a demonstration by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“This is unacceptable and a stance that does not fit our friendship, our partnership and our long-standing cooperation,” he said. “It can not be explained by any democratic rule.”
Around 30,000 Kurdish supporters rallied in the German city of Frankfurt on Saturday chanting “Erdogan terrorist” and “freedom for Ocalan”, referring to Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed PKK leader, with many waving flags featuring his face.
The PKK is formally classified as a terrorist group by the European Union and United States.
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Mark Heinrich