(CNSNews.com) – The crisis between Turkey and European countries deepened over the weekend, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubling down on Nazi analogies while lashing out at critical governments, and repeating earlier advice to Turks in Europe to have more children “because you are the future of Europe.”
Erdogan said during a televised speech on Friday that Turks in Europe should “have five children, not three.”
“They would revive the gas chambers, if they weren’t ashamed,” the Hurriyet daily quoted him as charging of his European critics, during an address at an Islamic foundation in Istanbul on Sunday.
The autocrat Islamist president, who is seeking sweeping new powers through a referendum next month, is angry that German and Dutch authorities blocked his surrogates from addressing rallies to garner support among ethnic Turks there for the “yes” vote – in one case even escorting a minister to the border to prevent her from speaking.
But his list of complaints has widened to include Germany’s decision to allow a Kurdish rally in support of the “no” vote in the referendum to take place in Frankfurt. Symbols and slogans on display included those of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist group outlawed in Turkey and designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization.
The Turkish government also bristled at comments by the head of Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency questioning Ankara’s accusation that a failed coup attempt last July was masterminded by the influential U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan has asked the Trump administration, and its predecessor, to extradite the cleric, to no avail thus far.
Erdogan’s defense minister accused the BND chief of being either blind, deaf, or of feeling the need to conceal the identity of the coup suspects.
Adding to the tensions with Germany, Turkey refuses to hand over a Turkish-German correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, Deniz Yücel, whom it accuses spreading “terrorist propaganda.”
Erdogan even weighed in late last week on an advisory ruling by the highest E.U. court on the wearing of headscarves at work, charging that it was part of a new European “crusade” against Islam.
Sunday’s speech in Istanbul included an anti-Europe tirade, as Erdogan accused his detractors of collaborating to strengthen the “no” camp in the referendum.
“They are allocating the biggest halls, the most central squares to the terrorists who are saying ‘no,’ while they cannot tolerate the word ‘yes,’” Hurriyet quoted him as telling supporters.
“I am telling all those who are using an iron hand in a velvet glove that those days are over. The Turkey which buckles under your threats and tyranny is no more,” he declared. “We will not let any of our citizens get hurt. Any country which would attempt that will face the consequences.”
He accused European countries of adopting “Nazi regulations” and displaying “the hatred they have accumulated for years against our country, our nation or even against all Muslims on TV screens and newspaper headlines every day.”
Erdogan also accused the detained journalist, Yücel, of being a “terrorist spy” and vowed he would not be released but charged.
Hurriyet said the president “reiterated his earlier call to the Turkish community living in European countries to procreate.”
On Friday, Erdogan said during a televised speech in a city west of Ankara that Turks in Europe should “have five children, not three.”
“You are Europe’s future,” he said. “This is the best answer to the rudeness shown to you, the enmity, the wrongs.”
Some five million ethnic Turks live in Europe, with the largest communities in Germany and France. About half of them are eligible to vote in Turkish elections.
Turkey is a member of NATO – its only Islamic member – and has long sought accession into the European Union.
Germany’s foreign minister said in a weekend newspaper interview Turkey was further away from E.U. membership “than ever before.”