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Erdogan calls on Turks in Europe to defy “grandchildren of Nazism”

President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday called on Turkish voters in Europe to defy the “grandchildren of Nazism” and back a referendum this month on changing the constitution, comments likely to cause further ire in Europe.

Erdogan has repeatedly lashed out at European countries, including Germany, in campaigning for the referendum, accusing them of “Nazi-like” tactics for banning his ministers from speaking to rallies of Turkish voters abroad.

Germany has been incensed by the references to its wartime past. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the references must stop.

Erdogan also said he would take the issue of whether Turkey should restore the death penalty to referendum if necessary. Turkey abandoned capital punishment more than a decade ago as part of its bid to join the European Union. Restoring capital punishment – which crowds have called for following the July 15 failed coup – would all but end Turkey’s bid to join the EU, officials from the bloc have said.

Erdogan made the comments at a rally in the Black Sea province of Rize, his hometown.

Erdoğan also said the first phase of Turkey’s military operation in Syria, dubbed the Euphrates Shield, has ended while heralding that new operations will follow.

“We have completed the first phase of the Euphrates Shield Operation with the cleaning of Syria’s al-Bab from terrorists. It is now over and there will be [operations] from now on. Right now, we are preparing for new operations to walk all over terror organizations in other regions. We will give new names to new operations. We have very good surprises for all terror groups, including the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] YPG [the People’s Protection Units], DEASH [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization], waiting for the spring. With God’s will, the upcoming months will be the dead winter of terrorists while it will be the spring of Turkey and the Turkish nation,” Erdoğan said April 3.

WHatti & HDN & Haaretz

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