Erdogan labels German and Dutch governments as “Fascist” and “Ugly”, while exploiting the situation to his advantage
Following the decision of both German and Dutch governments to refuse entry to several high-ranking ministers from Turkey, President Erdogan lashed back with heavy criticism towards Europe. Maximillian Popp of Derr Spiegal examines the reasoning behind the political blockade, the response from the Turkish government, and how President Erdogan is exploiting the situation.
Various cities in Germany cancelled pre-arranged events for Turkish officials in an attempt to distance themselves from the potentially dictatorial Turkish regime. German government officials claimed fire safety hazards and lack of parking availability were some of the determining factors for the cancellation. Chancellor Merkel seemed unperturbed and calm in the face of Erdogan’s claim that Germany has returned to “Nazi practices”. With a staggering 1.4 million Turks living in Germany, this diplomatic quarrel will be felt around the country.
Not only Germany faced the wrath of Erdogan’s crass remarks, but the Dutch government was also on the receiving end of similar comments. Landing rights were refused to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu, who was scheduled to hold a political rally. The spokesmen for Erdogan was quoted saying, “Shame on the Dutch government for succumbing to anti-Islam racists and fascists.” The Family Minister Beytül Kaya was denied access to the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam, leaving her to return to Germany.
Although the response from Turkey was harsh, it appears that Erdogan is using the diplomatic fall-out to his political advantage as the referendum to transfer a significant amount of power to the presidency takes place on April 16th. Popp believes that Erdogan will use this diplomatic shun from Europe as a political maneuver to gain the 2 to 3 percentage points that will decide victory for the yes vote. If the referendum passes, Turkey will see Erdogan secure executive powers which would dangerously resemble a dictatorial regime, removing critical functions of democracy in the country.
– Andrew Salafia, World Affairs Council Intern
Photo Credit: Politico