Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has verbally attacked some European nations and rebuffed their criticism over the upcoming snap elections and human rights violations in a recent Europe-Turkey exchange of accusations. In an interview with the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, he reprimanded some nations for overlooking the fact that Turkey and the European Union need each other.
"You have your own understanding of democracy. And when you violate democratic standards, you said it is sovereignty. So how can you try to teach democracy to Turkey then? Who gives you the right then? If you think that you have the right to criticize Turkey for this and that, you should also accept that I can criticize any country when they violate the democratic standards," said Cavusoglu in the interview.
The top diplomat was confronted about Turkey’s political rhetoric, as he previously called the Netherlands "the capital of fascism," while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of employing “Nazi measures.” The comments highlighted these countries’ efforts to curb Ankara’s political rallies for their Turkish communities living abroad. Cavusoglu denied that his comments were insulting, pointing a finger at Europe, saying “it came from both sides.”
Ahead of Turkey’s snap elections, scheduled for June 24, several EU members have banned Turkish politicians from campaigning, while Erdogan announced in April that he plans to rally in Europe to connect with its enormous Turkish community.
The disagreements are especially tense in Germany, which has Europe’s strongest Turkish minority with nearly 1.4 million people, who are eligible to vote at the elections. Not only did German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas promise that Berlin would not allow Turkish politicians to conduct election campaign rallies in Germany, but also Turkey's opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) held a 1,000-strong rally in Cologne.
In response, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag accused Germany of meddling in domestic affairs, interference in elections and an interventionist attitude.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced snap presidential and parliamentary elections on April 18. The president explained that early elections were needed to ensure a rapid transition to a presidential republic and enforce the constitutional amendments that were adopted after a constitutional referendum in April 2017. The amendments are set to enter into force following both elections, which were initially scheduled for November 3, 2019.