Swiss open probe into spying in Switzerland's Turkish community

President Ergdogan with Angela Merkel

Relations between Turkey and Europe have been severely strained since several Turkish ministers were blocked from campaigning on the continent for a "yes" vote in next month's referendum on boosting the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Turkey has waited at the door (of the EU) for 54 years", Erdoğan said, referencing when Turkey joined the bloc's then-European Economic Community through the Ankara Agreement in 1963.

Speaking during the Turkish-British Tatlidil Forum in southern Antalya province, Erdogan said Turkey would likely review its ties with the bloc after its April 16 referendum on sweeping constitutional changes.

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin accused some European countries of "attempting to interfere in the referendum that will take place on April 16 in Turkey and take up a position in favour of a "No" vote after the protest in Germany".

Turkey is also an integral part of a deal to keep hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing the Middle East and beyond from moving to Europe, in return for European Union financial aid to Ankara.

Founded in 1978, the PKK has waged bloody campaign against the Turkish state for decades, and was officially listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU.

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People hold banners and flags during a demonstration against Erdogan dictatorship and in favour of democracy in Turkey in Bern, Switzerland, March 25, 2017.

And among some European politicians, there has been discussion over what the future of Turkey's membership process would be.

On April 16th, Turks will decide whether to approve constitutional changes that would axe the role of prime minister and could see Erdogan in power until 2029.

Mr Erdogan told the rally Turkey would no longer be threatened by the prospect of European Union membership, which it applied to join in 2005 - an application which has since moved at a glacial pace.

Another contentious issue is the death penalty, which the Turkish president said again Saturday he would approve if it was passed by parliament and brought to him. Moreover, EU has also criticised the human rights situation in Turkey, particularly after the failed July 2016 coup.

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