Turkish Minister Says Europe Is Headed For 'Wars Of Religions'

The comments come at a time of increased tensions after the Netherlands and Germany recently blocked Turkish ministers from holding rallies in Europe before Turkish President Recep Erdogan's referendum vote to gain more power.

But Gabriel said responding to the comments would only serve Erdogan's interests.

Turkey's membership in the EU seems nearly unrealistic given the degree of political bickering between Ankara and certain European capitals, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a blunt statement.

In his Sunday speech, Erdogan accused Merkel personally of using Nazi methods against his "Turkish brother citizens in Germany and brother ministers".

In response, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu threatened to "blow the mind" of Europe by sending 15,000 refugees a month to European Union territory, which would endanger a year-old migrant deal between Ankara and Brussels to reduce the flow of migrants.

The interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, went even further on Friday warning of opening the way "to send 15,000 migrants per day towards Europe".

De Maiziere also said while he is opposed to such appearances, the question of whether to impose an outright entry ban for Turkish officials requires careful consideration.

The Turkish-European relationship is in a state of chaos these days, and Erdoğan has found it politically advantageous to throw fuel on the fire.

With less than seven months up to the parliamentary elections in Germany, critics say Merkel has been conspicuously submissive in her approach to Erdogan for fear of him scrapping the refugee deal and thus destroying chances of her reelection.

Mr Erdogan has repeatedly warned the European Union of the possibility Turkey could restore capital punishment, but this is the first time he has directly called on parliament to approve it after the referendum on constitutional change.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 17 the government is "experiencing a problematic process", and an uncomfortable environment trying to fulfill a visa deal with the EU. "What the people say, what the law says, that's what is important for us", he added. Formal EU accession talks began in 2005, but the process has been plagued by problems.

"If the death penalty is reintroduced in Turkey, that would lead to the end of negotiations", he told Sunday's edition of Germany's Bild newspaper, calling it a "red line".

  • Elsie Buchanan