Picture of Turkish president Erdogan as Hitler projected onto Berlin embassy

'We as Germans know what happens in the early stages of a dictatorship', the artists who projected the message have said

Jess Staufenberg
Tuesday 17 May 2016 18:20
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Turkish president Erdogan's face is projected alongside Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in Berlin
Turkish president Erdogan's face is projected alongside Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in Berlin

A picture of Turkish president Recep Erdoğan dressed as Hitler has been projected onto the walls of the country's embassy in Berlin.

German artists projected a large photograph of Mr Erdoğan wearing a Nazi armband and Hitler's toothbrush moustache as a protest against the recent imprisonment of two journalists in Turkey.

Beside the picture on the walls of the Turkish embassy in Berlin were the words "He's back".

The group behind the image are German art activists Pixel Helper, who have posted pictures of the projection to Facebook.

"We as Germans know what happens in the early stages of a dictatorship. The similarities between the early Nazi regime and Erdogan’s Turkey right now are frightening," Oliver Bienkowski, a member of the group, told The Independent.

"Erdogan challenges the freedom of the press, has jailed many journalists and politicians, and deals in oil with terrorists.

"We fear that history is repeating itself, and he must be stopped before it is too late."

The message comes at a sensitive time for Turkish-German relations as Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to uphold an agreement with Mr Erdoğan to accept refugees from Greece in return for accepting a similar number from camps in Turkey as well as speeding up Turkish visas to the EU.

It also follows comments broadcast by German comedian Jan Boehmermann, which referenced Mr Erdoğan in crude sexual and offensive terms, that the Chancellor has said were illegal and may be prosecuted against by the Turkish government.

President Erdogan is shown wearing a Nazi armband with Hitler moustache. The group have accused him of a dictatorship

This most recent criticism of Mr Erdoğan in Germany comes just over a week after two Turkish journalists, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, were sentenced to five years in prison each in a private hearing.

The pair also narrowly avoided a seeming assassination attempt outside the courthouse in Istanbul when a man with a gun shot at Mr Dündar but missed before being restrained by the editor's wife and later by police.

Mr Dündar and Mr Gül were accused of publishing information which claimed Turkish intelligence services were making arms deliveries to Islamists in Syria and the government was supporting terrorism.

In response, the two editors were arrested and charged with planning a coup, spying, sharing state secrets and themselves supporting terrorism.

Mr Dündar and Mr Gül told the Turkish Sun: "They have tried everything, starting with a threat...then blackmails, we were imprisoned, they looked into our personal accounts and assets, bugged our phones."

A court has now sentenced them to five years in prison, which has yet to be confirmed by a higher court, on charges of revealing state secrets.

Mr Bienkowski added: "We would love to project the same images on to the Presidential Palace in Istanbul, but if we did there is a good chance we would not make the flight back to Germany."

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