Turkish PM, Merkel hold ‘productive, good’ conversation
KIRŞEHİRTurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has talked on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over Germany’s decision to ban Turkish ministers from holding events in two German cities ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted to an executive presidency.
“We talked about the restrictions on the phone. It was a good and productive conversation,” Yıldırım said on March 4, as he added that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel will meet next week.
“We'll follow a more different way for the programs from now on. The talk took longer than planned,” he also said.
Earlier in the day, Yıldırım said that the decision of German authorities is “very unfortunate.”
“The cancelation of rallies is a very unfortunate decision against democracy and freedoms. German authorities should go over their attitude. You allow the representatives of the terrorist groups, but impose bans on those who wave the Turkish flag and those who love their country. That can’t be accepted and no barricade in front of democracy can be put,” Yıldırım said in a rally held in the Central Anatolian province of Kırşehir on March 4, as he added that “democracy is a river that flows loud.”
“Our citizens in Germany will vote ‘yes’ in the face of this attitude and will give a lesson. We believe in that,” he also said.
On March 3, Yıldırım also commented on the incident, saying that the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have “serious propaganda power in Germany.”
“What I see is that there are unfortunately PKK and FETÖ lovers and they have serious propaganda power. They are depraving the German public opinion. Maybe, politics also come under the effect of that. We’ll see in time, but we want to think well-intentioned. I hope that the friendship won’t further be harmed via moves like these,” he also said.
On March 2, the municipality of Gaggenau in southwest Germany revoked its permission for Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ's meeting, citing concerns about overcrowding. This prompted Bozdağ to cancel his planned visit to Germany altogether.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci’s planned address on March 5 to a Turkish community in western city of Cologne was also cancelled by local authorities over security concerns.