Meeting in Germany to be attended by Turkish justice minister cancelled
Celal Özcan – BERLINA municipality in Germany on March 2 canceled a meeting that was set to be attended by Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ citing capacity problems.
Bozdağ was slated to deliver a speech in a meeting organized by the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) in the Gaggenau province.
The municipality said in a statement that it canceled the meeting due to incapacity.
“The municipality expects a flow of visitors to the meeting and the carpark of the Bad Rotenfels Hall and its entrance do not have a capacity to hold such a crowd,” the municipality said in a statement, adding that it had no information whether the meeting would be held at another venue.
Bozdağ meanwhile called the cancelation unacceptable, stressing that the right of assembly was one of the irreplaceable features of democracy.
He said the decision also did not fit the rule of law, criticizing Berlin for permitting outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) meetings in the country.
The move came after Germany’s Left Party demanded the cancelation of Bozdağ’s speech. The municipality initially stated that the meeting was about the foundation of the Rastatt branch of the union but later said it officially cancelled the meeting.
In addition, Henk van Benthem, the mayor of the Pforz district of Cologne, also said the municipality cancelled another planned meeting of the union, which Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci was going to attend on March 5.
Recently, there have been debates between Berlin and Ankara over Turkey’s abroad rallies regarding the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendment.
Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) Interior Minister Ralf Jäger previously told the German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that the NRW already suggested to the federal government that the Cologne rally in March should be cancelled, calling President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to abide by the country’s laws.
Turkish-German politician and Green Party co-leader Cem Özdemir also said the German government should make it clear to the president that he was not welcome in Germany.
However, Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament (EP), said Erdoğan was welcome in Germany, like any other leader of an ally country.
A similar banning also took place in Germany at a Turkish rally in Cologne following the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.