Berlin blames local administration for allowing HDP rally in Cologne
Germany’s federal government pointed fingers at local authorities after Turkey sharply criticized Berlin for banning political rallies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) but allowed campaign events of an opposition party of Turkey.
Speaking at a news conference in the capital Berlin on May 28, German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr recalled that the federal government decided last year not to allow foreign politicians to hold political rallies in Germany, within three months of elections in their respective countries, and underlined that this rule was still in place, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on May 29.
Asked about the rally in Cologne on May 26 that was organized by the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Adebahr argued that permitting or prohibiting specific events does not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
“Granting permission to specific gatherings or events fall under the jurisdiction of local municipalities and authorities,” she said.
Around 1.4 million Turkish immigrants living in Germany are eligible to vote in Turkey’s parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24 — scheduled a year and a half before the original date after a sudden call from Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in April.
While the German government gave the green light for setting up polling stations at Turkish consulates next month, it did not give permission for AKP leaders to organize campaign events across the country
Erdoğan slams Germany
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly criticized German authorities on May 28 for banning his party’s campaign events but allowing the HDP rally, which he linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) efforts.
“They are not allowing our friends to attend meetings in Germany even for state duties, but they allow the PKK,” Erdoğan said during a rally in the western Manisa province.
“They [Germany] are lying to us. They allow terrorists to stage rallies under police protection,” he said.
The HDP, which the AKP and the MHP — the political duo running as the People’s Alliance in the snap elections — accuse of being a political front of the outlawed PKK, is planning to hold another major campaign event in Berlin on June 3.
The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it remains active, with nearly 14,000 followers among the Kurdish immigrant population in the country.
Turkey has long criticized German authorities for not taking “serious” measures against the group which Ankara says is using the country as a platform for their propaganda, fund-raising and recruitment activities.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.