The Latest: Erdogan considers reviewing ties with the EU

AP News
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Posted: Mar 23, 2017 3:13 PM
The Latest: Erdogan considers reviewing ties with the EU

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the diplomatic spat between some European countries and Turkey (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

Turkey's president says his country may review its "political and administrative" ties with the European Union after the upcoming referendum on boosting presidential powers.

In a live interview with Kanal D television Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a deal reached with the EU last year on curbing the flow of migrants to Europe can also come under review after the April 16 referendum. He said Turkey's economic ties with the EU would remain intact.

His comments come amid escalating tensions with EU nations and especially with the Netherlands and Germany over their restrictions on Turkish ministers wanting to hold campaign meetings there. Erdogan has accused the two countries of Nazism and fascism.

The Turkish president defended his Nazi comparisons and rebuked the new German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who said Erdogan risks damaging ties with partners and called on him to stop accusing Germany of acting like the Nazis.

Erdogan criticized comments in European countries that compare him to a dictator, saying: "You have the freedom to call Erdogan a dictator, but Erdogan cannot call you Fascists or Nazis? I will continue to use those exact terms as long as they call Erdogan a dictator."

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3:40 p.m.

Germany's foreign minister has stressed the importance of maintaining communication with Turkey despite recently souring relations with Europe.

Sigmar Gabriel said during a visit to Athens on Thursday that "we must make every effort to persuade Turkey that the path it is on is not the right path, and at the same time keep the channels of communication open."

Tension has increased in recent weeks between Turkey and several European countries after Turkish officials were barred from holding political rallies in some European cities before an April 16 referendum on whether to expand the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that it was in Europe's interest to have a democratic and Europe-leaning Turkey, but that Turkey itself would determine its path.

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1:25 p.m.

The European Union has summoned Turkey's permanent representative to the bloc to explain what many have seen as threatening language by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan warned Wednesday that Europeans would not be able to walk the streets safely if European nations persist in what he called arrogant conduct. The remarks were his latest amid tensions over Dutch and German restrictions on Turkish ministers seeking to hold campaign meetings with Turkish citizens.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said the foreign affairs office "actually asked the Turkish permanent delegate to the EU to come," adding "we would like to receive an explanation regarding the comment by President Erdogan concerning the safety of the Europeans on the streets in the world."