Tue Mar 7, 2017 10:1AM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives on stage holding flowers in order to throw them to supporters, on March 5, 2017, in Istanbul, during a pro-government women meeting. (Photo by AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives on stage holding flowers in order to throw them to supporters, on March 5, 2017, in Istanbul, during a pro-government women meeting. (Photo by AFP)
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The row between Ankara and Berlin over the cancellation of Turkey’s political gatherings in Germany is getting heated. Turkish authorities have accused Germany of seeking to sabotage rallies aimed at gathering support for a referendum on the Turkish president’s powers, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan likening the ban to Nazi practices. German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have refuted the remarks as out of place and unacceptable.

In an interview with Press TV, Jan Oberg, with transnational.org, warned that the widening rift between Turkey and Germany has the potential to turn into a grave source of trouble for NATO.   

“This is very serious because it [Turkey] is a NATO country. Turkey, the second largest military power in the alliance, is allied more with Russia than with the West. Now, the silence in Brussels is very interesting; firstly because of internal conflicts between NATO countries and secondly because of the extremely authoritarian leadership of Mr. Erdogan,” Oberg said, adding this should be an issue of concern for Brussels.

He also predicted more tensions between Ankara and other European states, especially after the upcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey which is due to abolish the office of the prime minister and give more powers to Erdogan as president.

 “The second largest military power in NATO being allied more with Russia and running wars in Syria and Iraq and also clamping down on its own [people], should create some kind of outrage in Brussels. But everybody is silent on that,” he added, highlighting NATO’s duty to safeguard human rights, freedom and democracy and security.

On Sunday, Erdogan accused Germany of "fascist actions" reminiscent of the Nazi era amid escalating tensions concerning the cancellation of political rallies aimed at gathering support for his referendum among Germany’s 1.5 million Turks.

On April 16, Turkey will hold a referendum aimed at abolishing the office of the prime minister and giving more executive powers to the currently largely ceremonial position of president.