Turkey summons German envoy after politician likens Erdogan to ‘sewer rat’ – Reuters

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« Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned the German ambassador to Ankara on Tuesday to protest over comments made by a senior German politician who likened President Tayyip Erdogan to a « little sewer rat » » reports Reuters.

« We condemn in the strongest terms the insulting statements made by Wolfgang Kubicki, the vice-speaker of the German Federal Parliament, about our president (Erdogan) in a speech during he Lower Saxony state election campaign, » Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement.

« (Kubicki) is completely devoid of political morality and responsibility, » Bilgic said, adding that such « indecent statements essentially give an idea of Kubicki’s political and moral level, and reveal his vulgarity. »

Contacted by Reuters, Kubicki confirmed making the comment during an election campaign rally while trying to draw attention to a rise in the number of illegal migrants moving from Turkey along the so-called Balkan route towards Germany.

« A sewer rat is a small, cute, but at the same time clever and crafty creature that also appears in children’s stories, » Kubicki said, citing the popular animated movie « Ratatouille » as an example.

Kubicki, a lawmaker from the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), one of the parties in Germany’s ruling coalition, said Erdogan had made a good deal for Turkey when he agreed to curb the number of refugees entering the European Union in 2015.

« But at the same time we must note that the wave of refugees along the Balkan route (from Turkey) is again increasing, which is a challenge for German foreign and domestic policy, » he said.

Turkey is a candidate for EU membership but negotiations have long been stalled amid disagreements on a number of issues including Ankara’s human rights record, migration and geopolitics.

Insulting the president is a criminal offence in Turkey, where Erdogan and his ruling AK Party have held power for two decades.

Reuters, September 27, 2022, Photo/John MacDougal/AFP

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