ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Wednesday that Europeans risk being unsafe on the world’s streets, as a crisis between Ankara and the EU showed no signs of abating.
“If you continue to behave like this, tomorrow in no part of the world, no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara.
Erdogan did not expand on what he meant by his comments but appeared to imply that Europeans risked receiving the same treatment that, he says, is endured by Turks and Muslims in Europe.
Relations between Turkey and Europe have been severely strained since Turkish ministers were thwarted from campaigning on the continent for a ‘yes’ vote in next month’s referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.
Ankara has said such behavior was reminiscent of Nazi Germany and also raised alarm over what it sees as rising racism and Islamophobia on the continent.
Erdogan warned Europe that Turkey was “not a country to push, to prod, to play with its honor, to shove its ministers out of the door, drag its citizens on the floor.”
He said the world was watching Europe’s actions “very closely”, adding: “We as Turkey urge Europe to respect democracy, human rights, freedoms.”
His repeated comparisons with Nazi Germany have been strongly condemned by the European Union as well as Berlin and the Hague, precipitating a crisis that has raised doubts over the viability of Turkey’s EU bid. AFP