Germany lashed out at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday stating that he had gone too far after he accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of using "Nazi measures" in a diplomatic feud.
Turkey's diplomatic relations with many of the European Union nations have been nosediving over the past months after the European countries refused to allow Turkish ministers to campaign for an upcoming referendum in their country.
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The Turkish Yes/NO constitutional referendum is set to be held on April 16. The referendum on the proposed changes in the constitution will grant broad new powers under an executive presidential system to the Turkish president.
If voted 'Yes,' the referendum would transform the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. It will also consolidate the power of all the three legislative bodies into one executive branch, which will be under Erdogan.
The row between the nations started after German authorities and other EU nations including Switzerland and Netherlands refused some Turkish ministers to campaign for a 'yes' vote in their country. The refusal drew a strong rebuke from the Turkish president who said that the spirit of Nazi Germany was still rampant in Europe.
"When we call them Nazis they (Europe) get uncomfortable. They rally together in solidarity. Especially Merkel. But you are right now employing Nazi measures," Erdogan in a televised speech on Sunday said.
"Against who? My Turkish brother citizens in Germany and brother ministers" who had planned to hold campaign rallies for a 'yes' vote in the referendum, he said.
Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel responded to Erdogan's comments by calling them "shocking."
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"We are tolerant but we're not stupid. That's why I have let my Turkish counterpart know very clearly that a boundary has been crossed here," Gabriel told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.
Julia Kloeckner, vice-president of Merkel's CDU party, also reacted strongly to Erdogan's comments stating that the Turkish leader seemed to have "lost his mind."
"Has Mr. Erdogan lost his mind?" Kloeckner said. She also added that she was urging the EU to freeze "financial aid amounting to billions of euros" to Turkey.