Ankara summons German ambassador over rally ban

Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag earlier scrapped a visit to Germany after the authorities blocked a rally promoting a referendum that could expand Erdogan's powers.

Published: 03rd March 2017 04:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2017 04:24 AM   |  A+A-

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File photo | AP)

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File photo | AP)

By AFP

ISTANBUL: The Turkish government today summoned Germany's ambassador to protest the cancellation of rallies in the country in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the latest spat between the two countries.

Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag earlier scrapped a visit to Germany after the authorities blocked a rally promoting a referendum that could expand Erdogan's powers.

"Our discomfort and our reaction to these developments have been communicated in person to the German ambassador who was summoned this evening to the (foreign) ministry," a senior Turkish official said on condition of anonymity.

The new row adds to tensions between Turkey and Germany over a number of disputes including Ankara's provisional detention of a German journalist on terrorism-related charges.

Bozdag was scheduled late yesterday to address the Turkish community in the western German town of Gaggenau and meet his German counterpart.

"That meeting with (the German justice minister) will not take place. I will return to Turkey," Bozdag said while on an official visit to Strasbourg, in remarks carried by private television station NTV.

Gaggenau authorities withdrew an earlier agreement with the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) to hold a rally, with Bozdag as the guest speaker, saying that the hall did not have the capacity to host so many people.

"Because the event is now known across the region, the city expects a large number of visitors. However, the Bad Rotenfels hall (in Gaggenau), parking lots and access road are insufficient to meet that demand," the town's authorities said in a statement.

"Due to these reasons, the hall rental agreement with the UETD has been revoked," it added.

Bozdag condemned the move, claiming it smacked of hypocrisy.

"It is unacceptable that German authorities, who constantly lecture us about human rights, democracy, rule of law, free speech... do not tolerate a meeting organised by the Turkish community," he said.

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