German city removes Erdogan statue after it was defaced

The German city of Wiesbaden has removed a 4m golden statue of Turkey’s president after it was defaced with the words “Turkish Hitler.”

The statue of Recep Tayyip Erdogan was installed in a square as part of Wiesbaden’s Biennale arts festival.

City councillor Oliver Franz told the Wiesbadener Kurier newspaper that angry words had escalated into physical scuffles, and “bladed weapons were spotted.”

“In agreement with state police, Mayor Sven Gerich decided to have the statue removed as security could no longer be guaranteed,” the city’s government tweeted.

Germany has a significant Turkish minority, whose varied attitudes to Mr Erdogan reflect those in Turkey itself. Some back his nationalist politics, while others accuse him of authoritarian tendencies.

Relations between Germany and Turkey have been frosty in recent years – not least in March 2017, when Mr Erdogan compared German officials to Nazis.

The insult came after German authorities cancelled rallies he had hoped would woo ethnic Turkish voters in Germany, ahead of a key referendum.

In August the same year, a month before Germany’s general election, Mr Erdogan called the country’s ruling politicians “enemies of Turkey” who deserved to be rejected by voters. His remarks were sternly condemned by German ministers.

Mr Erdogan is scheduled to make a state visit to Berlin in late September.

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