Hollande and Merkel Jointly Condemn Turkey’s Nazi Jibes

French President expressed France's solidarity with Germany and other European Union countries that had been dubbed as Nazis or fascists by Turkey.

French President Francois Hollande, left, speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, March 10, 2017.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert, AP Photo

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday it was unacceptable for Turkey to use "Nazi" jibes to criticize Germany and other countries for banning rallies in support of President Tayyip Erdogan.

The two leaders said in a joint statement that they had discussed the matter, with Hollande stating that France had expressed its solidarity with Germany and other European Union countries that had been dubbed as Nazis or fascists by Turkey.

Hollande added he had agreed with Merkel that future events organized over the Turkish referendum could take place provided they adhered to French and German laws.

The joint statement comes after Turkey criticized cancellations of Turkish ministers' rallies in Germany and in the Netherlands, amid Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's attempts to win the votes of Turks abroad in an April referendum that would give him sweeping new powers.

On Monday, March 16, Turkey said it would suspend high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlands after Dutch authorities prevented its ministers from speaking at rallies of expatriate Turks, deepening the row between the two NATO allies.

The row is likely to further dim Ankara's prospects of EU membership. It also comes as Turkey wrestles with security concerns over militant attacks and the war in neighboring Syria.

But the dispute over cancellations has become entangled with other tensions between Turkey and its NATO allies.

West European politicians have accused Erdogan, who survived an army attempt to topple him in July, of using the coup as a pretext for mass arrests and dismissals that stifle dissent. Erdogan, for his part, accuses European powers of racism, harboring enemies of Turkey, including Kurdish militants, hardline leftists and people linked to the July coup.