Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan trade barbs over attempts by Turkish officials to drum up support among the Turkish diaspora in Europe for an April referendum on boosting Erdogan's powers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: 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 Turkey 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 characterized by worry, that everything that has been built up over years and decades is collapsing," Steinmeier said on Wednesday (March 22) in his inaugural speech in the largely ceremonial role. "President Erdogan, you are jeopardizing 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." Erdogan said on Wednesday (March 22) that Europeans across the world would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude. Turkey has been embroiled in a row with Germany and the Netherlands over the barring of campaign appearances by Turkish officials seeking to drum up support for an April referendum on boosting Erdogan's powers.