German far-right party free to meet in Turkey, says Turkish FM
ANTALYATurkey’s foreign minister has said if a far-right, anti-immigrant German party wanted to campaign in Turkey, it would be free do to so.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 15 that the Alternative for Germany (AfD) would -- if it came -- be allowed to hold a rally in Istanbul’s huge Yenikapı meeting arena, Anadolu Agency reported.
During a in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, his homwtown, Çavuşoğlu said: “We will give them the best and the largest arena. We will say: ‘Please, let’s fill Yenikapı and hold a rally there. Here you come, if you want.’
“We are defending democracy and freedom,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu’s remarks follow recent tensions between Turkey, Germany and several other European countries. A number of local authorities there banned expat meetings and campaign activities by Turkish ministers, prompting a souring of relations between Ankara and the EU.
Several German politicians publicly spoke out against Turkey’s proposed presidential system, which is being voted upon in a referendum.
The AfD itself sharply opposed Turkish referendum campaigning in Germany.
Tension also grew between Turkey and the Netherlands after the Dutch authorities barred two Turkish ministers from addressing expat Turks ahead of the referendum.
Ankara accused the European countries of interfering in Turkey’s internal affairs.
Leading politicians in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands proposed a ban on rallies by Turkish politicians across Europe.
Austrian authorities also prevented former Energy Minister Taner Yıldız and Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers from speaking due to “security concerns.”