Turkish opposition joins criticism of Germany over cancellation of minister’s visit
ANKARAOpposition voices in Turkey have joined the government’s criticism of Germany after Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ’s meeting with Turkish nationals in Germany was canceled by the local authorities.
“The speeches of two Justice and Development Party [AKP] lawmakers who were due to speak in Germany were canceled. This can never be right. You teach democracy to the world but you forbid two ministers from speaking with this or that excuse,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in Istanbul on March 3.
“Everybody should express their opinions freely,” Kılıçdaroğlu added,
Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Osman Baydemir echoed this criticism.
“Politicians should be able to express their opinion wherever they wish to express it. They should not be precluded, banned or marginalized,” Baydemir said.
“The minister of justice, the prime minister, the president, [HDP co-leader Selahattin] Demirtaş, Kılıçdaroğlu and also [Nationalist Movement Party MHP leader Devlet] Bahçeli should be able to meet with their base, anywhere in the world and in every inch of this country,” he added.
Baydemir also slammed the government for not ensuring freedom of expression in Turkey while still demanding it for its own ministers.
“If you do not give this [free speech] to your own people, your criticisms are futile and nobody takes you seriously,” he added.
“I hope my words will help create empathy. But no doubt they will again use them for politics and as referendum material,” Baydemir also said.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Group Deputy Chair Erkan Akçay also condemned “German executives who show this attitude,” saying it is “wrong in every way” to prevent the ministers from meeting their citizens.
“Germany must abandon this mistaken attitude as soon as possible,” Akçay added.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ was to meet with Turkish citizens in Germany, where 3 million Turkish citizens live, as a part of the referendum campaign late on March 2, but the meeting was canceled by local German authorities.
Germany also did not permit President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to meet for rallies with Turkish citizens in Germany in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt.