Turkish president has said he would keep throwing Nazi slurs as long as he is called “a dictator,” refusing to tamp down his pugnacious rhetoric in a war of words with European nations that has spun out of control in recent weeks.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a Turkish TV channel on Thursday that he thought Europe was a friend and that was the reason why he used a “harsh language,” invoking a Turkish proverb that says “Friend would tell the hard truth.” He continued lambasting Germany and the Netherlands, accusing them of calling him a dictator.
“Did any Turkish newspaper say such things about their leader,” Mr. Erdogan asked. Reporters interviewing him did not recall a pro-government newspaper front page from this week that showed a doctored photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a Nazi uniform and called her “Frau Hitler.”
“So you have a liberty to called Erdogan a dictator, but Erdogan cannot call you a fascist or Nazi? I am sorry, as long as they call Erdogan a dictator, I will call them a Nazi,” the president said.
On Friday, Mr. Erdogan continued to make similar remarks in a central Anatolian town of Denizli, this time adding Switzerland and Belgium to his list of countries he slammed. He claimed that these nations, along with Germany and the Netherlands, don’t have freedoms, including religious freedoms.
In Brussels, Turkey’s Ambassador to the EU, Faruk Kaymakci, was summoned to the European Commission over Mr. Erdogan’s threatening statements and issued a verbal diplomatic note.
Earlier this week, Mr. Erdogan warned that Europeans may not walk safely on streets if they continue this attitude towards Turkey.
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