Turkey, Politics

Turkish opposition lawmakers angry at German rally ban

German decision is not right, says leader of Turkey's Republican People’s Party (CHP)

Turkish opposition lawmakers angry at German rally ban

By Seval Guley, Alp Ozden and Hatice Ozdemir


Turkish opposition parties have criticized Germany after a local authority revoked permission for a meeting where Turkey's justice minister was scheduled to address members of his community.

On Thursday, the municipality of Gaggenau in southwest Germany revoked its permission for Bekir Bozdag's meeting, citing concerns about overcrowding. This prompted Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag to cancel his planned visit to Germany.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said Germany's decision was not right.

"The speeches of Justice and Development [AK] Party lawmakers were canceled in Germany. This is never, ever right," he said.

Kilicdaroglu went on to say that Germany taught democracy to the world but forbid the minister from his address.

"We never find this [type of decisions] right. They [AK Party lawmakers] should also be able to express their opinions," he said.

CHP Group Deputy Chairman, Ozgur Ozel called the move unacceptable, especially in a country which enjoys high-level diplomatic ties with Turkey.

"It was an approach that questions the sincerity of Germany's words on freedom of expression," he said.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Group Deputy Chairman Erkan Akcay also condemned Germany’s move, saying it was "wrong in every way".

"Germany has to give up this wrong attitude as soon as possible," Akcay said.  

AK Party Group Deputy Chairman, Bulent Turan slammed the move, saying "politics in Germany is prohibited but there is freedom for terrorism".

Turan recalled how President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also not allowed to give a message to his people during a planned anti-coup rally in German city of Cologne last July.

Erdogan had planned to make a video call following the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, but he was barred from doing so by a German court.

The incident drew sharp criticism from the Turkish government. Turkish Foreign Ministry had also summoned the German Ambassador Martin Erdmann over the cancellation.

The event in Gaggenau had been organized by the Union of European Turkish Democrats, or UETD.

But while the Turkish president was barred from addressing his people, Germany allowed Murat Karayilan -- the internationally recognized head of the PKK terror group's armed wing -- to address a Cologne rally via video link in 2011.

Germany is home to the largest Turkish expat community in the EU, numbering around three million people.

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