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Merkel says she reserves right to block Turkish rallies

Updated March 21, 2017

HANOVER: Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded again on Monday that Turkey stops comparing German bans on rallies by Turkish officials to Nazi tactics, and said her government reserved the right to block future appearances unless Ankara complied with German law.

Berlin is growing increasingly frustrated about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly accusing it of applying “Nazi methods” by banning rallies aimed at drumming up support among Turks in Germany for a referendum that would strengthen the power of his presidency.

“My demand that Turkey should stop Nazi comparisons remains in force, with no ifs or buts,” Merkel told reporters at the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover. “Unfortunately, we have observed that these comparisons have not stopped, and we will not tolerate that every taboo is broken.”

Ties between Turkey, Germany and other European countries have deteriorated in recent weeks amid growing tensions over the April referendum vote and concern over an increasingly authoritarian tone from Ankara.

Merkel said the German foreign ministry had warned Ankara in an “unambiguous” diplomatic communication, or “note verbale”, in recent days that Turkish politicians could speak in Germany only if they complied with the country’s law, which explicitly bans malicious disparagement of the German government.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017