Wednesday

26th Sep 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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. UK opposition demand election if parliament rejects Brexit plan
  2. EU to have coordinated plan on AI by December
  3. No UK election before Brexit, says May
  4. Former French PM wants to be mayor of Barcelona
  5. Merkel's wingman in surprise defeat in internal party vote
  6. Orban sends thank-you letters to supportive MEPs
  7. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  8. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister

Investigation

Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?

Five years and €10bn after its EU bailout, Cyprus is a weak link in Europe's banking system - amid renewed fears on Russia money-laundering.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU agrees 'hair-trigger' chemical weapons sanctions
  2. World upside down as EU and Russia unite against US
  3. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  4. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  5. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  6. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  7. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  8. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us