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Turkish prime minister fires back at criticism from German president

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Turkish prime minister fires back at criticism from German president

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has fired a verbal salvo at German President Joachim Gauck.

The former East German Lutheran pastor is on a four-day visit to Turkey. He warned against the consequences of curbing freedom of expression including the two-week block on Twitter in a speech at a university. He was critical of Erdogan’s leadership style.

“I told him we can never tolerate interference in our domestic affairs.He should act the way that statesmen do. But I think he still sees himself as a pastor. Because he used to be a pastor he still has the same mentality of one. These are ugly matters,” Erdogan said at the weekly session of the Turkish parliament.

The two had engaged in what was described as “mild verbal jousting” at a joint press conference before Gauk’s university speech.

The war of words comes as security forces in Turkey geared up for possible clashes with demonstrators during May Day marches planned for Thursday.