The rift between the European Union and Turkey is escalating as President Erdogan has accused the EU countries of persecuting Muslims like Jews were during World War II while the spirit of fascism was running wild on the streets of Europe.
The EU-Turkey rift was sparked on March 11when Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, was barred from landing in the Netherlands to attend a rally of Turkish immigrants. About 400,000 people with ties to Turkey live in the Netherlands.
Not surprisingly, Dutch far-right anti-Muslim leader Geert Wilders waded into the debate. "We are in Holland here, not in Turkey, and a Turkish minister has no room here to lobby for somebody like Erdogan, who is a mere dictator," Wilders said.
Addressing a political rally in Istanbul on March 18, President Erdogan launched a scathing attack on European leaders. He was quoted by media as saying : "If they weren't ashamed, they would revive the gas chambers."
About Germany, Erdogan said : "When we call them Nazis they [European politicians] get uncomfortable. They rally together in solidarity. Especially Merkel." "Merkel. She backs [the Netherlands] too. You too are practicing Nazi practices. To whom? To my Turkish brothers and sisters in Germany," the Turkish leader said.
He has also quoted as saying: "They [European states] do not have the urge to hide their intentions and cannot hide the discomfort they feel from Turkey, which is growing stronger."
Earlier President Erdogan has hit out at the Netherlands, by holding them responsible for Europe's worst mass killing since World War II.
Referring to a Dutch battalion of United Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter by Bosnian Serb forces of thousands of Muslim men and boys in eastern Bosnia in 1995, Erdogan said: "We know the Netherlands and the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre. We know how rotten their character is from their massacre of 8,000 Bosnians there."
Turkey orders sanctions against Netherlands
On March 13, Turkey announced a series of political sanctions against the Netherlands over its refusal to allow two Turkish ministers to campaign there. The sanctions include halting high-level political discussions between the two countries and closing Turkish air space to Dutch diplomats.
Deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus said the sanctions would apply until the Netherlands takes steps "to redress" the actions Ankara sees as a grave insult. "There is a crisis and a very deep one. We didn't create this crisis or bring it to this stage," he said.
Other sanctions bar the Dutch ambassador entry back into Turkey and advise parliament to withdraw from a Dutch-Turkish friendship group. The announcement came hours after Turkey's foreign ministry formally protested over the treatment of the minister who was not allowed to land in the Netherland.
France and Germany have supported the Netherlands in its dispute with Turkey. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Erdogan's statements about Nazism and fascism "unacceptable" and called on Turkey to abide to the European Conventions on Human Rights.
German Chanc Merkel pledged her "full support and solidarity" to the Dutch, saying the Nazi gibes were "completely unacceptable".
President Erdogan responded angrily. "Shame on you!" he exclaimed during an interview with A Haber television. He renewed accusations that Germany supported "terrorists" battling Turkey and that it backed the "no" campaign in the Turkish referendum, arguing that Berlin did not want to see a strong Turkey.