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Comparisons with Nazi practices must cease, says Chancellor

Speaking during her visit to the CeBIT trade fair, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her demand that Turkey ends its comparisons with Nazi practices is absolutely unconditional.

Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference at CeBIT During her visit to CeBIT, the Chancellor reiterated her demand that comparisons with Nazi practices cease Photo: Bundesregierung/Krückeberg

She said she will not permit every taboo to be broken "with no consideration whatsoever for the suffering of those who were persecuted and murdered by the National Socialists".

Chancellor Angela Merkel is sticking to her position regarding comparisons with Nazi practices made by Turkish politicians. "My statement that Turkey’s comparisons with Nazi practices must cease applies. Without any ifs or buts," said the Chancellor during her visit to the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover.

Earlier, the Turkish President Recep Erdoğan had accused Angela Merkel personally of adopting "Nazi methods".

Appearances at campaign rallies possible under certain conditions

Angela Merkel also pointed to the "note verbale" issued by the German Federal Foreign Office a few days ago. In it the German government informed the Turkish side unequivocally that Turkish politicians may only make appearances in Germany if this takes place on the basis of the principles laid out in the German Basic Law or constitution. Otherwise the German government reserves the right to review the authorisation of appearances at campaign rallies.

On Tuesday (14 March) the German government gave Turkey permission to set up polling stations in Germany to enable Turkish citizens living in Germany to vote in the referendum. This is a "gesture and a clear signal to the Turkish government" said Martin Schäfer, Federal Foreign Office spokesperson. Between 27 March and 9 April, Turkish citizens living in Germany will be able to cast their vote at these polling stations in the referendum on the introduction of a presidential system in Turkey. About 1.4 million Turkish citizens living in Germany are entitled to vote in the referendum.

In an interview with the German newspaper, the Saarbrücker Zeitung, on Friday (17 March) Angela Merkel pointed to the conditions that apply to appearances made by Turkish politicians at campaign rallies. She said that the Federal Foreign Office has informed Turkey in "crystal clear terms" of the conditions that need to be met. "Authorities must be notified of the intention to hold events like this in good time; it must be announced openly who is to appear to what purpose and there must be total compliance with our laws and with the principles laid out in the Basic Law, or German constitution." She added that the German side is monitoring the situation very closely every day. "We are giving no carte blanche for the future."

The report of the Venice Commission will be studied in detail, says Angela Merkel

Speaking about the planned referendum, Angela Merkel said in the Saarbrücker Zeitung that the assessment of the legal experts of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission is very significant. The Commission has noted that the presidential system that Erdoğan aims to institute would be a step towards an autocratic order.

The Commission also points out that the referendum is taking place under the conditions of the state of emergency. "The European Council and the European institutions must look in detail at the report and take a common position."

The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission has adopted a report on the planned constitutional changes in Turkey. In it, the Commission considers the establishment of a presidential system problematical for future development in Turkey.

Reasserting European solidarity

On Thursday (16 March), Angela Merkel spoke by telephone with French President François Hollande. He stressed France’s solidarity with Germany and with other EU partners who have become targets of attacks of this sort.

On Monday (13 March) Angela Merkel commented on the dispute between the Netherlands and Turkey. Speaking in Munich, she said the Netherlands "have my full support and solidarity". Comparisons with Nazi practices are misleading and trivialise the suffering of the genuine victims. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had described members of the Dutch government as "Nazi remnants".

Mar 20, 2017