Merkel’s ally Bouffier says Erdoğan ‘not welcome’ in Germany

Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of Hessen and German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Volker Bouffier, vice chairman of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, said that Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has crossed a line by comparing Berlin’s government to the Nazis and is no longer welcome in Germany on Tuesday.

The rebuke from Bouffier reflects growing exasperation over Erdoğan’s assertions that Germany and other European powers were using Nazi tactics by banning Turkish political rallies in their territories. “Enough is enough,” said Bouffier, who is also premier of Hesse state where the financial capital Frankfurt is located. “Mr. Erdoğan and his government are not welcome in our country, and that must be now be understood,” he told DLF radio.

German media have reported that Erdoğan plans to visit Germany this month to rally the estimated 1.4 eligible Turkish voters living here to support the April 16 referendum. Bouffier said such a visit would create security problems. “Someone who insults us in this way cannot expect that we will assemble thousands of police to protect him,” he said.

Germany’s government has said it has not received a formal request for a visit by Erdoğan.

President Erdoğan had targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel and accused her of Nazism again amid strained ties between the two countries. “Merkel, you are engaging in Nazi practices against my Turkish brothers who live there, against my ministers and deputies who go there,” Erdoğan ranted in a speech in İstanbul.

Erdoğan had also reiterated his claim that Merkel has been supporting terrorists in reference to jailed Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel in Turkey. “You are asking for a terror agent from us” Erdoğan said claiming that the judiciary in Turkey is independent. In reference to journalist Yücel, Erdoğan said “He appeared in court and was arrested¨ defending the imprisonment of Die Welt reporter in Turkey.

Following Erdoğan’s accusations, Merkel had condemned Erdoğan’s remarks likening the cancellation of several rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany to “Nazi practices.” Merkel said, “One cannot even comment on such utterances; they are not justifiable.”

Accusing Erdoğan of minimizing the atrocities committed by Nazi regime, she added, “Comparisons with Nazis always just lead to one thing – to belittle those crimes.”

“What makes it really serious – and in my opinion even rather sad – is that Nazi comparisons only ever lead to one thing, namely that the incomprehensible suffering of the victims of National Socialism is cheapened. And that’s why such statements automatically disqualify themselves,” the German chancellor said.

Furious with German authorities for not allowing Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi to deliver speeches in some German towns during which the ministers would ask for support from Turkish expatriates for upcoming referendum which will introduce an executive presidency in Turkey, Erdoğan accused Germany of employing practices similar to those of the Nazi era.

“I thought that Nazism has ended in Germany. But it seems your practices are no different from the Nazi practices of the past,” he said during a speech in İstanbul on Sunday.

Underlining that the cancellations were an attempt to prevent his arrival in Germany, Erdoğan said: “I will come to Germany if I want to. If you don’t let me in or if you don’t let me speak, I will make the whole world rise up.”

A pro-Erdoğan Güneş daily depicted Merkel as Hitler on its front page. Putting Merkel in a Nazi uniform with a Hitler-style moustache, the daily called the chancellor a “Female Hitler.”

Accusing Germany harboring terrorists, the daily also claimed that Berlin is inciting all of Europe against Turkey: “Trying to be the leader of fascists, Merkel creates anti-Turkish enmity using Germany’s backyard — Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium.” 

March 21, 2017

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