German towns block Turkish ministers from taking part in rallies

Edited by walterp on . Posted in Politics

Days after the imprisonment of a German-Turkish journalist, a speech by Turkey’s Justice Minister in Germany has sparked outrage. Bekir Bozdag (pictured above) aims to promote constitutional reform to strengthen presidential power.

The small, southwestern German town of Gaggenau withdrew permission on Thursday for an event where Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag planned to address a campaign rally in support of a controversial constitutional referendum to boost President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

Bozdag had been scheduled to give a speech in Gaggenau on Thursday night, but the city pulled its permission for the event to take place, saying that the hall where the rally was supposed to take place was too small to accomodate the expected crowd.

Due to the fact that the event picked up a great deal of media attention, “the city expects a large number of visitors for which the Bad Rotenfels Hall, the parking lots and the access roads are not enough,” the city said in a statement on its website.

The statement also said it did not know whether the event would continue to be held at a different location.

Cologne follows suit

The next minister to travel to Germany as part of the Turkish referendum campaign was supposed to be Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, who wanted to address German Turks in Cologne on Sunday.

Following the ban in Gaggenau, a Cologne court also banned the weekend rally there, a citing security reasons.

Of the more than 3 million people of Turkish descent living in Germany, some 1.4 million are eligible to vote in the controversial referendum taking place in April.

 

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