In a Monday interview with A-Haber television, Erdogan said “Mrs. Merkel, you are supporting terrorists,” adding that Berlin has not responded to 4,500 dossiers sent by Ankara on terror suspects, including those linked to Kurdish militants and last year’s botched coup in Turkey.
“Mrs. Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country?...Why are you not doing anything?” Erdogan asked.
He also slammed Merkel for publicly supporting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the diplomatic dispute that erupted after the Netherlands blocked rallies by Turkish ministers aimed to garner support for an April 16 referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.
Merkel, in return, censured Erdogan’s accusations as “clearly absurd.”
“The chancellor has no intention of taking part in a game of provocation,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a brief written statement late Monday, adding “these accusations are clearly absurd.”
The dispute erupted on March 2 when German authorities canceled rallies by Turkish ministers campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum, infuriating Turkey.
Erdogan’s remarks came hours after the European Union called on Turkey to move toward defusing the deepening row.