German Justice Minister pens letter to Bozdağ over meeting ban
BERLINGerman Justice Minister has penned a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ over Berlin’s decision to ban Turkish ministers from holding events in two German cities ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted to an executive presidency.
Maas sent the sharply worded letter after bozdağ canceled their scheduled meeting for March 9.
"When journalists, judges and attorneys are arrested simply because they are doing their jobs, simply because they are fulfilling their role in a constitutional state, then each arrest marks a degradation of the rule of law," he wrote.
"It is the role of the state to protect journalists and not burden them with repressive measures."
Tensions between the two countries escalated last week after German media and politicians sharply criticized Turkey for arrest of Die Welt’s Istanbul correspondent Deniz Yücel on charges of “terror propaganda.”
On March 2, the municipality of Gaggenau in southwest Germany revoked its permission for Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ's meeting, citing concerns about overcrowding. This prompted Bozdağ to cancel his planned visit to Germany altogether.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci’s planned address on March 5 to a Turkish community in western city of Cologne was also cancelled by local authorities over security concerns.
In a phone call between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel on March 3, the ministers agreed to meet in Germany on March 8 to discuss tensions between the two countries, foreign ministry sources in Ankara said.