German Chancellor Angela Merkel says comments from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials accusing Berlin of "Nazi practices" cannot be tolerated.
Merkel told Parliament on Thursday that the remarks are "sad and incredibly misplaced" and are "not justifiable."
"We will not allow the victims of the Nazis to be trivialized," she said. "These comparisons with the Nazis must stop."
In response, Turkey said it was not calling the current German government Nazi, but their practices are reminiscent of that era, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by broadcaster NTV on Thursday.
Speaking in Istanbul on Sunday, March 6, the Turkish president fanned the flames with a stinging verbal attack. "In Germany, they are not allowing our friends to speak. Let them do so. Do you think that by not allowing them to speak the votes in Germany will come out 'no' instead of 'yes?'" Erdogan said. "Germany, you don't have anything to do with democracy. These current practices of yours are no different than the Nazi practices of the past."
Erdogan’s remark came after several German municipalities canceled events in which Turkish Cabinet ministers had planned to address rallies in Germany in support of a national referendum on constitutional reform that would give the Turkish president more powers.
About 1.4 million people of Turkish descent living in Germany are eligible to vote in the referendum.