President Donald Tusk of the European Council has made his first remarks regarding the accusations made by senior Turkish officials against Germany and the Netherlands over the banning of political rallies in the two European countries to campaign for the ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming Turkish constitutional referendum. President Erdogan stated that “Nazism is alive in the West” and his foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu added “Europe needs right-minded politicians” after rallies were cancelled by German and Dutch authorities.
Tusk told a plenary European Parliament on Wednesday that Ankara’s remarks about fascism in the Netherlands are erroneous because Rotterdam where the planned rally was to be held is “the city of Erasmus”; a program established in 1987 to promote intercultural experience among university students.
He explained that the city was “totally destroyed by the Nazis” and its present mayor was born in Morocco. With regards to these facts, “if anyone sees fascism in Rotterdam, they are completely detached from reality.”
The ruling Turkish Justice and Development party wants to garner support from abroad ahead of next month’s referendum and the banning of rallies in the two European countries hosting large Turkish communities has been formally protested by the Turkish government.
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker said he was “scandalized” by Ankara’s comments, adding such comments have distanced the country from joining the European Union.
Last week, Erdogan accused European countries of supporting each other with regards to the issue.
The tussle has reached social media platforms with several accounts, including international aid organizations, news agencies and political entities on Twitter seemingly being hacked by a group supporting the Turkish government. Messages directed at Germany and Netherlands were posted in Turkish with the hash tag #antigermany and #antiholland.