Turkey lashes out at Germany over ban on Erdoğan’s videoconference
DHA photoA senior Turkish official has strongly criticized Germany for not allowing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s participation via videoconference at a rally scheduled to be held in Cologne on July 31, saying the ban was in violation of freedom of expression.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Erdoğan’s spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın, in a statement on July 31. The Turkish community in Cologne was set to hold a massive rally to protest the coup attempt with the participation of representatives of different political parties and non-governmental organizations.
Erdoğan wanted to address the participants via video but was rejected by the local authorities and the German Constitutional Court due to security concerns. Kalın however, said Turkey was expecting to hear the “real reason” behind the ban. “It’s not acceptable for the authorities, who have been silent about the activities of the terrorist organization in the past, to try to hinder a rally on democracy on the grounds violence can spark.
Security measures should be taken against supporters of the terrorist organization and anti-democratic provocateurs and not against organizers of a democracy rally,” he said, in an apparent reference to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Kalın said attempts to hinder a rally against coup plotters were in violation of democracy, freedom of expression and right to assembly.
Already tense bilateral relations between Turkey and Germany have gained a new source of disagreement, as the former pulled its ambassador from Berlin after the Bundestag’s decision to recognize the 1915 mass killings of Ottoman Armenians as genocide.