Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today said that the "spirit of fascism" was running rampant in Europe as pro-Ankara hackers defaced top Twitter accounts in an escalating crisis.
Turkey and the European Union are going through their most explosive crisis after key EU members The Netherlands and Germany blocked Turkish ministers from holding rallies to back constitutional changes expanding Erdogan's powers.
Erdogan has repeatedly accused the two countries of behaving like "Nazis", comments that have left The Hague and Berlin aghast and prompted warnings from Brussels for the Turkish strongman to show moderation.
EU chiefs today blasted his comments as "detached from reality" and incompatible with Turkey's ambitions to join the bloc.
But far from stepping back, Erdogan today ratcheted up his rhetoric a further notch, comparing the treatment of non-Europeans in Europe to that of the Jews in World War II.
"The spirit of fascism is running wild on the streets of Europe," Erdogan said in a televised speech.
"The Jews were treated the same in the past," he added, referring to the persecution of Jews under Nazi Germany, which carried out a systematic plan to annihilate Europe's Jews in the Holocaust.
"Europe is heading towards being drowned in its own fears," Erdogan said. "Turkophobia is mounting. Islamophobia is mounting. They are even scared of migrants who take shelter there."
Several top Twitter accounts, including those of a German football club, the French economy ministry and BBC North America, were defaced by pro-Turkey hackers with a message slamming "Nazi Germany" and "Nazi Holland".
"#NaziGermany. #NaziHolland. This is a small #Ottomanslap for you. See you on #April16. I wrote what? Learn Turkish."
The message also featured a swastika and was followed by a video showing extracts of speeches by Erdogan.
According to legend, an Ottoman slap was a barehanded technique used in the Ottoman army that was strong enough to kill an opponent on the spot.
Twitter confirmed the attack. There was no immediate claim for the current mass cyberattack.
Germany's Borussia Dortmund football club, tennis legend Boris Becker and Amnesty International were also targeted.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)