Turkey deserves to host Olympics, President Erdoğan says

20 March, 2017, 21:53 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Thousands of Kurds celebrate the Newroz spring festival and protest against Turkish President Erdogan

The Turkish diplomatic offensive against German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany is growing with increasingly heated tones, to which the German foreign minister responded: "Now a line has been crossed".

"We are tolerant but we are not idiots".

Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been burdened by the arrest of a Turkish-German journalist in Turkey and by Erdogan's description of the bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers as "fascist".

Many protesters carried symbols of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terror organisation not just by Turkey but also the European Union and the United States. A German Foreign Ministry spokesman indicated that Berlin had no interest in "entering a spiral of mutual provocations created to boost support for Erdoğan among Turkish overseas voters".

Germany and the Netherlands have both refused to allow Turkish ministers to enter their countries to campaign for a "yes" vote among Turkish nationals.

Ibrahim Kalin made the comment in a live interview with broadcaster CNN Turk.

Some local German authorities have chose to block appearances by Turkish ministers, but Merkel's federal government so far has made no such decisions.

"They gave it to the ones who would be hosting it for the second time, not who would host it for the first time", said Erdogan, referring to the fact that Tokyo hosted the Games in 1964. Kurds make up a sizable number of the over 3 million people of Turkish origin in Germany.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Saturday evening has condemned Germany for allowing terrorist PKK followers to march in the city of Frankfurt, Anadolu reported.

His comments came after the head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency, Bruno Kahl, said Ankara had failed to provide evidence of Gulen's involvement in the July plot.

Erdogan threw further oil on the fire on Saturday by saying he believed parliament would after the poll agree a bill to restore capital punishment, which he would then sign.

On those who urge Turkey "to speak softly but carry a big stick", Erdogan said "those days are over".

Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast has been scorched by renewed fighting after a two-and-a-half year ceasefire between the government and the PKK broke down in 2015.

The death penalty was abolished in 2004, during Turkey's application to join the UE.

He had said on Friday that Turkish families living in Europe should have "not just three but five children" each, in order to "stake a claim".

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