Author : Hurriyet Dailynews

Posted : March 3, 2017




The already tense Turkish-German relationship has hit a new bump in the road, after the cancelation of a meeting by Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ with Turkish citizens in Gaggenau in southern Germany, planned as part of campaigning for the April 16 referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.


Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu described the cancellation of Bozdağ meeting as “another example of systematic implementation of the German deep state,” while German Ambassador to Ankara Martin Erdmann was summoned to the ministry late on March 2.


The latest crisis between the two NATO allies was sparked after the local municipality in Gaggenau revoked permission for a hall meeting between Justice Minister Bozdağ and members of the Turkish community, which had been scheduled for March 2.


Germany, home to nearly three million Turkish citizens, is often visited by Turkish politicians ahead of key polls. Votes cast abroad have a significant impact on election results, as the overseas electorate makes up around 5 percent of Turkey’s entire electorate.


Germany also barred President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from holding a planned rally with Germany-based Turkish citizens last year, after the failed July 2016 military coup attempt.


“This is a systematic move of the German deep state. This move of Germany denounces democracy, the right to assembly and freedom of expression,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters on March 3, describing the cancelation of Bozdağ’s meeting as an “example of Germany and the Western world’s double-standards on democratic implementations.”


He also noted that Germany did not allow President Erdoğan to meet with Turks in Germany in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt while “allowing the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK to hold a meeting.”


“You permit leaders of terror organizations but you don’t allow Turkey’s democratically elected President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This is inexplicable,” Çavuşoğlu said. “You have to see Turkey as an equal partner. Turkey is not a country under your order. You are not Turkey’s boss. You are not a first class and Turkey is not a second class country. We don’t treat you like this. You have to treat Turkey like an equal partner,” he added.


Bozdağ: Germany has become a haven to terror groups


Justice Minister Bozdağ, meanwhile, also lashed out at the German authorities on March 3, claiming that Germany has become a “haven for terrorist organizations” like the PKK, the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).  “Turkey’s justice system is more independent than the justice system in Germany,” Bozdağ claimed.


EU Minister: Don’t erect new Berlin Walls


EU Minister Ömer Çelik also criticized the cancellation of the meeting via his Twitter account on March 3.

“We share common values with Germany such as democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights and freedoms. We expect respect to these values. Preventing meetings with our citizens in Germany is a clear obstruction of the use of a democratic right,” Çelik said.


“Those who erect new ideological and mental Berlin Walls give the greatest damage to European democracies. If democratic gatherings are prevented then geographical and political barbed wires are constructed against democracy. Anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, racist and Islamophobic political movements are also against the values of the EU. Actions tantamount to the demands of such movements to prevent our gatherings with our citizens only put European democracies in the wrong hands. A country that prevents us from meeting our citizens should understand that the consequences of these actions would be the weakening of democratic values,” he added.


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