Recep Tayyip Erdogan says 'Germany is committing suicide' by not allowing him to speak to German Turks

Comments in German press follow his inflammatory remarks when referendum rallies blocked

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 05 July 2017 15:17 BST
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to media
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to media

Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has claimed Germany is "committing suicide" by not allowing him to speak to Turks at a rally in Germany.

"Germany needs to correct this mistake," he told the Die Zeit newspaper, adding that "We need each other".

Germany has blocked Mr Erdogan from making a speech to supporters during the G20 summit in Hamburg later this week, which could have drawn huge protests from Kurds living in Germany.

Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was "not a good idea" because "on the sidelines of the G20 we don't have the police numbers to provide the security" needed.

Mr Erdogan triggered a diplomatic spat earlier this year when Germany and The Netherlands banned rallies intended to increase support for him in April's emergency powers referendum.

He called Europe "fascist and cruel", described the Dutch as "Nazi remnants" and accused Germany of "fascist actions".

But in his latest interview he insisted he had no personal problem with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Ms Merkel will hold talks with Mr Erdogan on the sidelines of the G20 summit, her spokesman said on Wednesday.

Relations between the Nato partners have soured in the last few months. On Tuesday, Turkey condemned as incitement to violence an art installation in front of the German chancellery that portrayed Mr Erdogan as a dictator.

The spokesman also said Merkel would discuss the Ukraine crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Erdogan also said as long as Germany did not send supporters of his former ally, Fethullah Gulen, back to Turkey, his country would view Germany as a land that protected terrorists.

Ankara has blamed Mr Gulen, a Muslim cleric, for orchestrating a failed coup last July. He has denied the accusation.

But his alleged involvement has served as pretext for a widespread crackdown in Turkey that has swept up tens of thousands of people including teachers, police officers and journalists as Mr Erdogan consolidates power.

Germany's Turkish population numbers about three million.

Additional reporting by agencies

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