Turkish Community leader criticizes Erdoğan over 'Nazi' remarks
BERLIN - Reuters
A leader of Germany’s Turkish community criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 6 of damaging ties between the two NATO allies by likening bans on political rallies by Turks in Germany to “fascist actions” reminiscent of Nazi times.
“Erdoğan went a step too far. Germany should not sink to his level,” Gökay Sofuoğlu, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, which groups 270 member organisations, told Reuters.
He said the comments could harm bilateral ties and were exacerbating long-simmering tensions within the community of about 3 million people of Turkish background in Germany.
Sofuoğlu said he had talked to police after receiving messages accusing him of being a “terrorist” because of his criticism of Erdoğan.
But he urged authorities not to ban Erdoğan or other Turkish politicians from Germany, saying it was important to set a positive example and preserve rights to freedom of expression.
Two German towns last week cancelled political rallies at which Turkish ministers had hoped to drum up support for a “Yes” vote in the April 16 referendum.
An estimated 1.5 million Turkish citizens living in Germany are eligible to vote in the poll, making them
one of the largest constituencies outside Turkish cities like Istanbul.