Third German town cancels Turkish rally, police say

March 3, 2017 10:52 pm

The area around the city hall of Gaggenau, southwestern , is cordoned off with barrier tape of the police on March 3, 2017.

Amid a deepening dispute between Ankara and Berlin, a third German town has called off a rally by a Turkish government minister, police say.
The event had been due to be held in the town of Frechen, on the outskirts of the city of Cologne, on Sunday.
However, police said on Friday that it would be cancelled as “the contract between the owner of the event hall and the organizer excludes political events.”
Relations have deteriorated between Ankara and Berlin after local authorities rescinded permission for a meeting of Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, who was planned to address supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the southwestern German town of Gaggenau.
Furthermore, the German Press Agency has also cited an official from Cologne as saying that a March 5 event, where Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci was planned to hold a pro-Erdogan rally, has also been canceled.
The meetings were part of Turkey’s bids to rally support among the estimated 1.5 million Turkish citizens in Germany for an April referendum on the expansion of the Turkish presidency’s powers.
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Germany of double standards over cancelling Bozdag’s planned speech and noted that Berlin must “learn how to behave” if it wanted to maintain relations.
A day earlier, the Turkish Foreign Ministry had summoned German Ambassador to Ankara Martin Erdmann to protest the cancellation of rallies in support of Erdogan ahead of the referendum.
Ankara again accused Berlin on Friday of scandalous behavior, saying that Berlin provided a “shelter” for people committing crimes against Turkey.
“Let them look back at their history,” Bozdag said in a speech suggesting a deeper rooted chauvinism in Berlin. “We see the old illnesses flaring up.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, has hit back, saying Berlin had not been involved in the steps taken by city councils who, according to one mayor, acted purely on security grounds.
She once again slammed Turkey’s treatment of journalists after Ankara’s arrest of Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for the prominent Die Welt newspaper, and said Berlin would not remain silent.
“We support freedom of expression and we can criticize Turkey,” she told reporters.

Demonstrators hold posters and wear shirts with the slogan ‘#FREEDENIZ’ during a protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Berlin, on February 28, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Foreign Ministry sources in Ankara said on Friday that Turkish and German foreign ministers have agreed in a phone call to meet in Germany on March 8 to discuss row between the two countries after cancellation of the rallies by the Turkish ministers.
During the call, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu once again expressed dissatisfaction over Germany’s decisions to his counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, the sources said.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks to the media in Ankara, Turkey, on March 3, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Relations between Turkey and Germany have soured following a series of disputes since a failed coup attempt to overthrow Erdogan last year.
Turkish officials say over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured following the botched July 15 putsch.
Tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, judges and teachers, have been suspended, dismissed or detained as part of the post-coup crackdown.
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