President Erdoğan to hold election rally in Sarajevo amid European bans
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to speak ahead of elections on June 24 to political supporters in the Bosnian capital, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on May 7, citing Turkey’s ambassador to Bosnia.
Some Western countries have banned Turkish politicians from campaigning on their soil.
Erdoğan has said his party would hold the first election rally in a European country and said it would be in Sarajevo last weekend.
The Turkish president would come in a working visit first planned for June but then moved to May 20 because of the early election, Ambassador Haldun Koç told local Fena news agency.
“We see this visit as a working visit that should focus on topics such as economy, trade, investment and further cooperation between the two countries,” Koç said.
Koç said Erdoğan will attend the convention of the Union of European-Turkish Democrats (UETD), the non-government organization, which invited Turkish officials to speak ahead of the referendum last year but was prevented by authorities there.
The event will be held in a reconstructed Olympic hall that can hold up to 20,000 people, the UETD said on its website.
Bosnian officials said on May 7 they were not aware of Erdoğan’s visit.
Turkey will go to early parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule.
Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have all announced that they will not allow Turkish politicians to conduct pre-election campaigning in their territories, citing public order concerns.
Ties between Ankara and a number of European countries were hit in 2017 ahead of the controversial April 2017 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, with many Turkish politicians not permitted to hold pre-scheduled meetings.
The Netherlands deported one Turkish minister on the grounds that she had not sought permission from the authorities, prompting Erdoğan to denounce “Nazi-like” tactics.
Erdoğan told reporters on his return flight from South Korea on May 3 that bans on Turkish politicians from campaigning abroad are “undemocratic.”