As far as Recep Tayyip Erdogan is concerned, it’s not just German Chancellor Angela Merkel who’s a Nazi; so is Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. And while French President Emmanuel Macron is “brain dead” and all Europeans are “fascists,” Greeks are “barbarians.” Once more, the Turkish president has gone too far, making vulgar accusations and comparisons to Nazi atrocities.
He had made similar accusations against Merkel when the German government banned pre-election rallies in favor of Erdogan for Turkey’s April 2017 referendum. He accused her and Martin Schulz of “Nazi tactics” again in September of that year over comments on Turkish-EU relations.
Speaking to his party’s parliamentary group on Wednesday, Erdogan showed photographs of the Greek-Turkish border and said that “there is no difference between what the Nazis did and what we’re seeing from the Greek border.” He went on to describe the Greek authorities as “fascists” and “barbarians.”
This is what the “democratic” Erdogan thinks. What is so outrageous is that such references are being made by the president of a country that continues to aspire to European Union membership while at the same time attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire.
Erdogan appears to have been thrown into a frenzy by recent developments: difficulties in Syria and Libya; being made a fool of by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who left him waiting outside the room where they were to meet in Moscow; picking fights with everyone instead of sticking to the “zero problems with neighbors” philosophy.
At the same time he is losing his grip on the domestic front and seeing erstwhile allies like Ahmet Davutoglu and Ali Babacan launching their own parties.
Yesterday he openly admitted that the Turkish Navy ships will “chase” Greek ones in the Aegean – a comment that came after a Hellenic Coast Guard boat was rammed by a Turkish vessel – and ordered his air force to fly over Evros.
Merkel and Macron, who recently thanked Greece for guarding “Europe’s borders” and are to meet with Erdogan in Istanbul in a few days for talks that will include the new migrant crisis, are being called on to deal with the Turkish president and his out-of-control ambition.
But how much tolerance can the West continue to show for an authoritarian leader who not only jails thousands of his citizens – including journalists – but also feels free to make disparaging references and comparisons that insult the memory of the victims of the Holocaust?
As the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece recently said, “The policy of the Turkish government to exploit innocent people and create impressions by trivializing the Holocaust for political purposes is nothing but an obscene and despicable operation of misinformation and disorientation of the global public opinion.”
His comparisons of events on the border with the Holocaust also drew a terse response on Wednesday from the head of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris. Taking to Twitter, Harris wrote: “Turkish Pres. Erdogan accused Greece of doing ‘what the Nazis did,’ citing border crisis he created. Do migrants in Turkey face Holocaust? Are they fleeing for their lives? If so, Erdogan should be held accountable. If not, he should visit Auschwitz & learn about real Nazis.”