Turkey’s president is assailing German authorities’ refusal to let him address Turks at a rally when he visits for the Group of 20 summit, declaring the decision “political suicide.”
Amid a long list of tensions between Berlin and Ankara, Germany’s foreign minister said last week his government wouldn’t grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission for a rally.
“What kind of an attitude is that? This is very ugly … Germany is committing suicide,” Erdogan was quoted Wednesday as telling German weekly Die Zeit. “This is political suicide.”
If the German government won’t relent, he said he will attend the G-20 and “say what we have to say there,” then return home — “but I can’t be muzzled.”
Erdogan noted that he speaks on Turkish television, which is widely available in Germany.
“Then let them ban these programs in Germany,” he added.
Erdogan dismissed the notion that Turkey, which has been in slow-moving talks to join the European Union for years, might be tempted to leave the NATO military alliance out of anger with the West.
“It is one thing to be disappointed by the West, another to withdraw from NATO,” he said. “We do not have such a thing on the agenda.”
“In the first place, there is disappointment about the EU process,” Erdogan added. “NATO was always more honest with us than the EU. The EU has been stalling us since 1963.”