Erdoğan speech ban sparks fresh Turkey-Germany row

Erdoğan speech ban sparks fresh Turkey-Germany row

Erdoğan speech ban sparks fresh Turkey-Germany row


A ban on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holding a speech via videoconference at a pro-democracy rally in Germany’s Cologne on July 31 has sparked a fresh row between the two countries. 

Turkey summoned a senior German diplomat in Ankara on Aug. 1 over the talking ban, while Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would have to abandon a deal with the European Union reached to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if the EU did not grant visa-free travel to its citizens. 

Turkey summoned the charge d’affaires at the German Embassy in Ankara, one day after a rally of tens of thousands of Erdoğan supporters came together in Cologne in opposition to the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.

Hours before the demonstration, Germany’s constitutional court rejected an application to show via video link live speeches from Turkey by politicians including Erdoğan, over fears they could work up the crowd.

Turkish Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın called the ban “unacceptable,” saying it was in violation of freedom of expression.

A spokeswoman for the German embassy confirmed to AFP that the charge d’affaires had “been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry at 1:00 p.m.” on Aug. 1 over the rally.

But Germany, which is home to Turkey’s largest diaspora, played down the incident, saying such “invitations” were nothing out of the ordinary.

“In the day-to-day dealings between countries, it is a daily event - normal for a representative of a country to be called in to the foreign ministry of his host country,” German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Martin Schaefer told journalists.

“That happens in Turkey... That happens too in Berlin. Therefore that is not unusual,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu told German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that if the EU did not grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens, then it would abandon the March 18 Turkey-EU migrant deal.

Çavuşoğlu said the agreement on stemming the refugee flow had worked because of “very serious measures” taken by Ankara. 

“But all that is dependent on the suspension of the visa requirement for our citizens, which is also an item in the agreement of March 18,” he was quoted by Reuters as telling FAZ on July 31.