Berlin enraged at Erdoğan's Nazi comparisons
After the Turkish president accused Angela Merkel of using Nazi practices the latter has given up her reserved stance in the row over AKP politicians appearing at campaign rallies. Merkel said she would not allow all the taboos to be broken and indirectly threatened to ban campaign events in Germany. For many German journalists this still doesn't go far enough. Turkish commentators, on the other hand, speculate that Berlin is pursuing a hidden agenda.
Archaic attacks call for appropriate response
The German government should strike a harsher tone vis-à-vis Ankara because that is the only language Erdoğan understands, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“In addition to the usual diplomatic thumb-screw tactics - recalling one's own diplomats, temporary bans on Turkish ambassadors - trade and European policy are good instruments for upping the pressure. The so-called pre-accession subsidies could not only be cut but scrapped entirely and the easing of visa restrictions could be officially put on ice. All these instruments for sanction may also push Erdoğan's opponents into the president's open arms. But on the other hand the German government must weigh up how much Erdoğan is harming its credibility. It must take action to prevent this damage. It if doesn't it will come across as weak. This archaic muscle-flexing may seem alien to Western Europeans, but it is necessary vis-à-vis Erdoğan, also and above all for self-protection.”
Germany wants a Yes in the Turkish referendum
Germany is doing all it can to fuel its conflict with Erdoğan although it knows the row only works to his advantage, Hürriyet Daily News observes:
“Strangely, it seems that Germany has actually decided a Yes vote suits its interests. How else could you explain the German spy agency chief's March 19 statement that Ankara has failed to convince them that Gülenists were behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt. ... How often does the BND head talk to the press, especially about another country? Why this timing with Turkey? The answers to these questions leave no doubt. ... They can only be part of a long-term strategy to keep Turkey out of the EU, and in fact at an arm's length from Europe. A Yes vote would probably secure another decade of AKP rule in Turkey, which means a 10-year suspension of accession talks. This is an extremely short-sighted long term strategy.”