The Latest: Germany stresses importance of talking to Turkey

The Latest on the diplomatic spat between some European countries and Turkey (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Germany's foreign minister has stressed the importance of maintaining communication with Turkey despite recently souring relations with Europe.

Sigmar Gabriel said during a visit to Athens on Thursday that "we must make every effort to persuade Turkey that the path it is on is not the right path, and at the same time keep the channels of communication open."

Tension has increased in recent weeks between Turkey and several European countries after Turkish officials were barred from holding political rallies in some European cities before an April 16 referendum on whether to expand the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that it was in Europe's interest to have a democratic and Europe-leaning Turkey, but that Turkey itself would determine its path.


1:25 p.m.

The European Union has summoned Turkey's permanent representative to the bloc to explain what many have seen as threatening language by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan warned Wednesday that Europeans would not be able to walk the streets safely if European nations persist in what he called arrogant conduct. The remarks were his latest amid tensions over Dutch and German restrictions on Turkish ministers seeking to hold campaign meetings with Turkish citizens.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said the foreign affairs office "actually asked the Turkish permanent delegate to the EU to come," adding "we would like to receive an explanation regarding the comment by President Erdogan concerning the safety of the Europeans on the streets in the world."