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Merkel Rejects 'Trading Provocations' With Erdogan, Says 'Insults Must Stop'


German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a summit last year in Istanbul

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a summit last year in Istanbul

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she does not want to join the escalating war of words with Turkey on March 16 but warned Turkish leaders that "the insults must stop."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sharply criticized as "fascist" and "Nazi" bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany and the Netherlands to drum up support for legislation to broaden his powers.

His remarks and recent Turkish threats to cut ties with the European Union, including canceling a landmark refugee deal last year, have provoked strong condemnations in return from European leaders.

Merkel told the Saarbruecker Zeitung newspaper that Erdogan's accusation that she supported Kurdish terrorist groups in Turkey was "absurd," but she's trying to find a way to cool the heated rhetoric.

"I don't intend to participate in this race to trade provocations," she said. "The insults need to stop."

She said that Turkish politicians wanting to make appearances in Germany need to openly disclose who will appear and for what purpose and then follow Germany's laws.

"We're looking at the situation afresh every day and are not giving anyone a carte blanche for the future," she said.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters
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