Tensions in Turkish-German relations are fast becoming a diplomatic breakdown between the two countries.
This should be a serious cause for concern because it will have long-term repercussions, reaching beyond bilateral relations.
The pro-government, nationalist media in Turkey is no stranger to insulting other countries with historically-ignorant, populist comments.
It is more unusual for the head of state or government ministers to use highly inflammatory statements.
With the confrontational and undiplomatic language deployed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against Germany at the weekend, this time Turkey has really backed itself into a corner that it will find hard to break out of.
Accusing Germany of “Nazi practices” for blocking campaign rallies by Turkish ministers before the constitutional referendum on April 16, Mr. Erdogan seems to have consolidated grass-root support in Turkey.
By doing so, he has massively widened the rift between Turkey and its European partners.
The German government had, initially, given the impression that it would refuse to respond in kind and try to contain the crisis, but the Turkish side has kept escalating the row.
The day after the President’s outburst, and on the eve of his own campaign rally in Hamburg, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu joined the chorus, slamming Germany for cancelling political meetings. Germans withdrew permission for Mr. Cavusoglu’s gathering, forcing organisers to look for another venue. His meeting with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, on Wednesday in Berlin, is not likely to be a friendly exchange.
Right now, Turkey is simultaneously facing several other foreign policy difficulties.
In the northern Syrian town of Manbij, Turkey risks running into a conflict, not only with the Syrian Kurd forces and the Syrian regime, but with the United States, too, as Amberin Zaman explains in a recent article in Al-Monitor.
In Iraq, the Sinjar area near the Syrian border has become the scene of fierce clashes between rival Kurdish groups and Turkey is blamed for the latest outbreak of violence there.
Away from conflict zones, Turkey’s standing in international organisations is getting shaky, too.
The United Nations referred Turkey to the Security Council on Monday for its continued non-compliance by holding one of UN’s war crimes tribunal judges, who was arrested after last year’s failed coup.
The Council of Europe is getting impatient with Turkey, asking the government to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Last week, the German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported the leaked details of the Venice Commission’s Turkey report. The Council of Europe’s advisory body of constitutional law experts were said to be deeply concerned about the “dramatic decline in democratic order” in Turkey.
In addition to increasing criticism from outside, the Justice and Development Party government of President Erdogan is facing serious questions inside.
In addition to a slowing economy, high unemployment and an inflation hitting 10% for first time in nearly five years, the AKP government has political and legal reasons to feel anxious.
As the trials of key military personnel accused of taking part in the July 15 coup attempt are getting underway, disturbing new details about the circumstances of the night are emerging.
Despite the harassment and intimidation of the “no” campaign, the referendum outcome is not a foregone conclusion.
It is hard to say whether these recent outbursts in foreign policy and threats against opponents in the country are symptoms of anxiety-induced irrationality, or more of the usual diversionary tactics.
This post is also available in: Turkish