German populists free to meet in Turkey, says minister

Foreign Minister Mevult Cavusoglu says AfD party free to come to Turkey, in contrast to Turkish ministers treatment in EU

German populists free to meet in Turkey, says minister

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey’s foreign minister has said if a controversial anti-immigrant German party wanted to campaign in Turkey, it would be free do to so.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) would -- if it came -- be allowed to hold a rally in Istanbul’s huge Yenikapi meeting arena.

During a speech in southern Turkey’s Antalya province, Cavusoglu said: “We will give them the best and the largest arena. We will say: 'Please, let’s fill Yenikapi and hold a rally there. Here you come, if you want'.”

“We are defending democracy and freedom,” he added.

Cavusoglu’s remarks follow recent tensions between Turkey, Germany and several other European countries. A number of local authorities there banned expat meetings and campaign activities by Turkish government ministers, prompting a souring of relations between Ankara and the EU.

Several German politicians publicly spoke out against Turkey’s proposed presidential system, which will be voted upon in a referendum on Sunday.

The AfD itself sharply opposed Turkish referendum campaigning in Germany.

Tension also grew between Turkey and the Netherlands after the Dutch authorities barred two Turkish ministers from addressing expat Turks ahead of the referendum.

This collective opposition in the EU drew sharp criticism from Ankara and accusations of interference in Turkey's internal affairs.

Leading politicians in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands proposed a ban on rallies by Turkish politicians across Europe.

Austrian authorities also prevented former Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and Justice and Development (AK) Party lawmakers from speaking due to "security concerns".

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Nisan 2017, 07:48