The head of Germany’s largest Jewish organization says the Turkish president’s last comparisons with National Socialism insult the memory of Holocaust victims. It’s the latest salvo in an incendiary war of words.
The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, says that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan disrespected the memory of the victims of the Third Reich in accusing German Chancellor Angela Merkel of using “Nazi methods.”
“The comparisons between today’s Federal Republic of Germany and National Socialism, which we have heard in recent days, are not only insulting and absolutely false – they also relativize the Nazis’ rule of terror,” Schuster said. “The comparison is monstrous and denigrates the suffering of the victims of the Shoah.”
Erdogan made his remarks on Turkish television on Sunday after a Kurdish political rally in the city of Frankfurt. The Turkish president accuses the German government of hindering political events in Germany in support of changes to the Turkish constitution that would give him broad new powers. Those changes are subject to a popular referendum on April 16, in which expatriate Turks in Germany can vote.
Schuster said comparing Merkel with the Nazis willfully ignored actual manifestations of anti-Jewish sentiment today.
“In a time in which anti-Semitism and right-wing populism are on the rise, this completely inappropriate comparison and the trivialization it entails of the horrific deeds of the Nazis downplay the true threats,” Schuster objected.
Erdogan has repeatedly used Nazi comparisons against his perceived enemies in Germany and the Netherlands while comparing Turks today to Jews in the Third Reich. He also told a Turkish newspaper that Europeans would “revive gas chambers if they weren’t ashamed.”