Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Europe this week, saying “no European in any part of the world can walk safety on the streets” if Europe doesn’t change its attitude.
The Turkish President is frustrated by what he calls the “Nazi methods” Germany and the Netherlands are using to disrupt campaign appearances by Turkish ministers seeking to boost support for an April 16th referendum on Turkey’s constitution.
“Turkey is not a country you can pull and push around, not a country whose citizens you can drag on the ground,” said Erdogan on Wednesday.
The “footsteps of neo-Nazism and extreme racism could be heard in Europe,” added Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.
This week, newly elected German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier used his inaugural speech to warn Erdogan that his vitriol against Europe threatens to destroy everything Turkey has achieved in recent years.
“The way we look (at Turkey) is characterized by worry, that everything that has been built up over years and decades is collapsing,” said Steinmeier, adding that the “unspeakable Nazi comparisons” must stop.
There are roughly 1.4 million Turks living in Germany that will be eligible to vote in the upcoming referendum. If approved, the referendum will expand Erdogan’s power and transform the way Turkey is governed.
The Union of European Turkish Democrats announced Tuesday that Turkish officials would no longer be holding campaign rallies in Germany after a Merkel ally made it clear they were not welcome.
Relations between Europe and Turkey have been strained following President Erdogan’s authoritarian and inhumane response to the failed coup of July 2016.
Erdogan detained 40,000 of his own people in the days and months following the coup, and fired over 100,000 government employees in a paranoid “purge” aimed to weed out those he suspected of disloyalty.
This week, Erdogan instructed Turks living in Europe to multiply at a faster rate: “Have five children, not three. You are Europe’s future. This is the best answer to the rudeness shown to you, the enmity, the wrongs.”
Editor’s note: Turkey is rapidly developing a “bad actor” motif. Erdogan is more concerned with the rights of the Islamic population in Europe than he is with Western ideals like democracy, and economic development. From a Western perspective, this is not a good direction.