BERLIN, March 22 Germany's Frank-Walter
Steinmeier used his first speech as president to issue a stark
warning to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, saying he risked
destroying everything his country had achieved in recent years
and damaging ties with its partners.
Ankara has been embroiled in a row with Berlin and other
European capitals over campaigning among the Turkish diaspora
for a referendum on granting Erdogan greater powers.
"The way we look (at Turkey) is characterised by worry, that
everything that has been built up over years and decades is
collapsing," Steinmeier said on Wednesday in his inaugural
speech in the largely ceremonial role.
"President Erdogan, you are jeopardising everything that
you, with others, have built," he said, adding that he would
welcome "credible signs" to ease the situation.
NATO ally Turkey has repeatedly accused Germany of using
Nazi tactics to ban ministerial appearances and has caused anger
in Germany by holding German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel.
"But end the unspeakable Nazi comparisons!" Steinmeier said.
"Do not cut the ties to those people who want partnership with
Turkey! Respect the rule of law and the freedom of media and
journalists! And release Deniz Yucel."
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Paul Carrel)