BERLIN German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said there was "absolutely no justification" for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's comments comparing German bans on certain political rallies to "fascist actions" remniscent of the Nazi times.
Merkel said Erdogan's comments only served to triviliase the unfathomable suffering of those affected by Nazi crimes against humanity, and were particularly sad given the many common factors that connected the two NATO allies.
The German leader acknowledged deep differences with Ankara over issues such as freedom of the press and the arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel.
However, she said Germany remained committed to its own freedoms of press, assembly and expression, and would continue to allow Turkish politicians to campaign for a constitutional referendum in Germany, as long as their visits were announced in a transparent and timely fashion and respected German laws.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Michael Nienaber)