Banning rallies 'systematic', says Turkey's European Union minister

Cheryl Sanders
March 8, 2017

He says he hopes the talks will "bring us step by step back to a better relationship".

Turkey's foreign minister accused Berlin on Tuesday of exerting systematic pressure on Turkish citizens in Germany and hampering campaigns in support of President Tayyip Erdogan's bid for new powers in a referendum next month.

Sharply rejecting Erdogan's Nazi jibe, Seibert said: "Nazi comparisons are always absurd and out of place, because they lead only to one thing - the trivialising of the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis".

The Turkish foreign minister made the remarks amid a spat between Ankara and Berlin over Germany's cancellation of events aimed at drumming up support for the referendum.

"In our legal system, local authorities are generally in charge of security issues", Gabriel told ZDF broadcaster, adding that authorities in Hamburg chose to close the hall originally scheduled for the speech due to a lack of fire security.

Local authorities in Germany have cancelled a string of such rallies, typically citing safety concerns.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her government did not have a hand in the decisions, which fell under the jurisdiction of local governments.

Gabriel also criticized Erdogan's comments comparing German bans on certain political rallies to "fascist actions" reminiscent of Nazi times.

"If you don't let me in, or if you don't let me speak, I will make the whole world rise up", he said.

But Germany's systematic anti-turkey stance and the pressure on Turkish people living in Germany is unacceptable.

There are almost four million people of Turkish origin living in Germany, of which about 1.5 million are Turkish citizens eligible to vote in the April referendum.

Cavusoglu told the German government not to preach about democracy.

"But they must adhere to existing rules".

Other reports by iNewsToday