Friday

23rd Feb 2018

German-Turkish tensions rise over cancelled campaign events

  • Tukrish ministers are holding rallies in Germany to gather support for Erdogan's reforms (Photo: Andreas Trojak)

Turkey has summoned the German ambassador in Ankara on Thursday (2 March) to protest over cancellations of campaign events in Germany aimed at rallying support for president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's controversial constitutional reform.

Turkish justice minister Bekir Bozdag was due to urge Turkish expats in Gaggenau to support reforms expanding Erdogan's powers.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The municipality of Gaggenau cancelled the event mere hours before it took place, saying there was not enough space to hold the large crowd expected, citing security concerns, according to the German DPA news agency.

Gaggenau mayor Michael Pfeiffer said the decision had no political motivation.

In protest, Bozdag cancelled his meeting with German justice minister Heiko Maas in Karlsruhe.

"It is unacceptable that the German authorities are not tolerating a meeting of the Turkish community, while they are always lecturing everyone on human rights, democracy, rule of law and freedom of expression," Bozdag told reporters in France according to Anadolu news agency.

Following the decision in Gaggenau, the city of Cologne also said they would no longer allow a similar rally to take place because of security concerns.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci was due to hold a rally there on Sunday.

Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesperson for Erdogan, lashed out at German authorities on Twitter, writing "With such decisions, we clearly see the true face of those who take any opportunity to lecture Turkey on democracy and freedom of speech".

This follows in the wake of Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim addressing Turkish voters at a rally in Oberhausen last week.

The rallies around Germany aim to convince the roughly half, of the three million Turks living in Germany, who are eligible to vote in a referendum on 16 April, to support transforming the once largely ceremonial presidential post to the power centre of Turkish politics.

The new presidential powers would abolish the post of prime minister, give the president greater power, lower the minimum age of parliamentarians to 18, expand the size of the assembly, and allow Erdogan to stay in power until 2029.

Critics say the new executive powers would give rise to an authoritarian rule and help Erdogan consolidate his power grab after last year's failed coup and following crackdown.

Free Deniz

The diplomatic spat comes at a time when relations between Ankara and Berlin are already strained following the arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel.

The correspondent for Die Welt newspaper has been accused by Turkish authorities of spreading propaganda of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), that both Turkey and the EU consider a terrorist organisation.

Yucel was arrested in mid-February after reporting on the hacking of the private emails of energy minister Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of Erdogan.

His detention prompted protests by journalists and politicians. Chancellor Angela Merkel called it "bitter and disappointing" and a "disproportionately harsh" measure.

German justice minister Maas has earlier warned Turkish politicians who want to visit Germany to respect freedom of the press.

"With respect to visits by Turkish politicians in Germany, it is clear that those who want to benefit from freedom of speech here should also safeguard the rule of law and freedom of the press at home," he said in a statement earlier this week.

Opinion

How to handle Erdogan's constitutional coup

An EU statement should say that under Erdogan's new constitution, Turkey no longer meets entry criteria and accession talks should be suspended.

Turkish-Dutch row takes over election campaign

Over the weekend, in the context of Dutch elections and a Turkish referendum, the Netherlands denied entry to one Turkish minister and escorted another out of the country.

Erdogan's Nazi jibes sour EU relations

Turkish leader Erdogan has accused Germany of Nazi-type behaviour after German towns banned Turkish rallies, in a widening EU backlash that also includes Austria and the Netherlands.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table