Turkish government officials are still participating in events for expatriate Turks across Europe, but they are not campaigning for an April 16 referendum, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Wednesday.
At a roundtable with journalists, Kurtulmuş said a row with European countries over the barring of Turkish ministers from addressing rallies had helped Turks in Europe better understand the constitutional changes proposed in the referendum.
Kurtulmuş said the "footsteps of neo-Nazism and extreme racism" were being heard in Europe. European leaders have made repeated calls for Turkish officials to avoid Nazi comparisons after President Tayyip Erdoğan likened Germany's ban on several rallies to the Nazi era.
Turkey criticizes Netherlands over PKK Newroz rally
Turkey hit out at the Netherlands on Tuesday for allowing Newroz celebrations staged by the PKK terror group to go ahead in The Hague.In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said: “It is unacceptable for the Netherlands… to allow a terrorist organization to hold an event in which slogans are made against a referendum to be held in our country."It accused the Dutch government of having “violated the agreements that regulate diplomatic and consular relations and the freedom of expression and assembly by preventing the Turkish community living in their lands from meeting with the Turkish authorities".In recent weeks, Amsterdam has refused to allow Turkish ministers to campaign in the Netherlands for a Yes vote in the forthcoming constitutional referendum to grant wide-ranging powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.The ministry said the Netherlands, which, along with other EU members, recognizes the PKK as a terrorist group, had allowed PKK sympathizers to use the group's symbols and pictures of its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan at the event.On Saturday, German officials allowed PKK followers to march in Frankfurt with posters and flags despite a ban on the display of terrorist symbols in public places.Germany has also angered Ankara by canceling referendum campaign events planned by Turkish ministers and Erdoğan.The Newroz festival, which marks the start of the new year, has been celebrated for more than 18 centuries across Anatolia and central Asia.
Turkey summons German envoy over spy chief's comments
The German charge d'affaires was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara on Tuesday following the remarks by his country's intelligence chief. Last weekend, Bruno Kahl, the head of the Federal Intelligence Service, told Der Spiegel news magazine that Germany had yet to be convinced of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization's involvement in last July's failed coup. Ankara has said the organization, known as FETÖ, was behind the attempted coup that resulted in 249 deaths. “All evidence consisting of detainees' statements, records of communication before and after the coup attempt and the FETO-linked civilians caught at Akincilar air base lay forth the relationship between the putschists and FETÖ," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Later, EU Minister Ömer Çelik told broadcaster Haber Turk that Kahl's statement indicated Germany would protect a group that Turkey, a NATO ally, considered a terrorist organization. He also described Kahl's comments as “strange" as intelligence chiefs usually avoided the spotlight.
Turkish foreign minister discusses Gülen during US trip
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday about the possible extradition of the man held responsible for last July's attempted coup. Çavuşoğlu presented Sessions with a dossier including new evidence to support Ankara's request to extradite Fetullah Gulen, a Turkish official said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media. The foreign minister visited Sessions during a two-day trip to Washington. Separately, Turkish Justice Minister also spoke to Sessions about the extradition request during a telephone call lasting nearly 30 minutes. Turkey has stepped up its efforts to have Gülen, the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, since the coup bid, in which 249 people died. Sixty FETÖ suspects detained in Turkey's coup bid probe