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Austrian chancellor calls for EU-wide ban on Turkish campaigning

Increased tensions between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Angela Merkel

"If Germany does this [a rally ban], it makes what they say to Turkey about democracy meaningless", Yıldırım said.

There are almost 4 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany, of which about 1.5 million are Turkish citizens eligible to vote in the April referendum. It was part of a campaign to get Turks in Germany to vote "yes" in the referendum.

Seibert told reporters, however, that Germany's federal government was not trying to put together a travel ban, and that it would not even attempt to stop rallies aimed at drumming up support for a referendum that could greatly expand Erdogan's power in Turkey. "And Mr. Erdogan's defiance sounds very well to those who feel this Judeo-Christian alliance is trying to enslave Turkey", Yesilada said.

On Sunday the Turkish leader accused Germany of "fascist actions" reminiscent of the Nazi era.

The press secretary's warning, however, also implicitly suggests that Turkish politicians should naturally be afforded the courtesy of being allowed to give addresses in Germany.

He went on to state that the European Union should conduct an investigation to make sure that funds paid to Turkey to pave the way for EU accession are achieving their intended objective.

Berlin says the rallies in Germany were cancelled on security grounds.

German justice minister Heiko Maas sent Bozdag a sharply worded letter after Bozdag cancelled their Thursday meeting.

Erdogan has chafed at German criticism of a widespread purge he is conducting including arrests and dismissals of people in nearly all walks of society suspected of links to the failed July coup.

Erdogan said in Ankara the cause of the tensions between the two countries was Germany's support for Turkey's enemies.

The German foreign ministry urged Ankara to refrain from "pouring oil on the fire".

And ties have worsened following the formal arrest of Turkish-German Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel on Monday who is accused of "terrorist propaganda".

The Turkish leader is holding a vote in April to transform the ceremonial presidency into the nation's top government executive. The authorities had cited capacity problems in hosting the rallies, which they said would likely attract large crowds.

He also appeared to threaten Germany if it tried to stop him from speaking in the country at some point in the future.

Berlin has emerged as a strident critic of Ankara's vast crackdown in the aftermath of the failed putsch, which has seen more than 100,000 people arrested, dismissed or sacked for alleged links to the plotters or to Kurdish militants.

The correspondent for Die Welt newspaper has been accused by Turkish authorities of spreading propaganda of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), that both Turkey and the European Union consider a terrorist organisation.