Erdogan made the comments Friday while campaigning in the city of Eskisehir for a referendum that would usher in a presidential system and enhance his powers. Because you are the future of Europe.
The factsheet came in the midst of diplomatic spats between Turkey and some European Union member states, which squabbled over Turkish ministers wooing support from expatriates in Europe for constitutional reforms granting greater powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"Make not three, but five children", he said.
Other Turkish politicians, on the other hand, urged calmness to resolve this explosive crisis with Europe, such as the leader of the nationalists in the parliament, Devlet Bahceli. He's now touring Turkey in a bid to whip up support for a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would endow the presidency - and therefore him - with far more power. Turkey has so far met most of the requirements for visa liberalization, but the EU's demands for change in Ankara's anti-terrorism laws led to a deadlock in negotiations.
Moreover, the European Union on Monday warned Erdogan to avoid inflammatory rhetoric. Despite repeated threats of sanctions against Germany and the Netherlands for banning Turkish ministers from speaking at rallies of ethnic Turks, until now there have only been few diplomatic measures. And indeed, Erdoğan's main opposition, the Republican People's Party, has backed his recent denunciations of Europe.
Erdogan was infuriated after two of his ministers earlier this month were prevented from addressing meetings in Germany for the Turkish diaspora, in support of a yes vote in April's referendum.
Wilders' second-place to center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy on Wednesday was perceived as a triumph for European progressives fearing a far-right domino effect. But Cavusoglu's remarks on TV 24 channel came only three days before the one-year anniversary of a deal brokered between Brussels and Ankara that would allow for irregular migrants in Greece, the starting point of the trek to northern Europe, to be returned to Turkey in exchange for Syrian refugees hosted on Turkish soil. "The votes they got are close, around 17-20 percent - so many political parties, but when you look at it there is no difference between the social democrats and fascist [Geert] Wilders, they all have the same mentality", Cavusoglu said in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya.