Turkey has raised the possibility of holding another pro-Erdogan campaign rally in Germany before a referendum next month while recent cancellations of such events in Europe have fueled tensions.
Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told the CNN Turk broadcaster on Sunday that the rally could be held ahead of the April 16 referendum on changing the constitution.
Turkey’s dispute with the European Union erupted earlier this month after Germany and the Netherlands blocked Turkish ministers from holding rallies to secure a ‘Yes’ vote in the April 16 referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers, citing public safety concerns. Critics say the vote would give the Turkish president dictatorial powers.
Erdogan has accused the European countries of acting like “Nazis,” drawing a wave of condemnation.
Elsewhere in his comments, Kalin warned that “Turkophobia” was on the rise in Europe, assuring, however, that his country was friendly to international investors.
‘Berlin backs Gulen movement’
He further accused Germany of supporting the movement led by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen that is blamed for the abortive military coup last summer.
The accusation came one day after Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency said it was not convinced that Gulen masterminded the failed putsch on July 15, 2016.
“Turkey has tried to convince us of that at every level but so far it has not succeeded,” BND head Bruno Kahl said in an interview with weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.
The assertion contradicted Turkey’s stance as the country brands the movement as the Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO). Gulen has denied any involvement in the coup attempt and even condemned it.
Kalin said doubts expressed by the BND prove that Berlin supports the Gulen movement, saying, “It’s an effort to invalidate all the information we have given them on FETO. It’s a sign of their support for FETO.”
“Why are they protecting them? Because these are useful instruments for Germany to use against Turkey,” he added.