Germany denies permission for Erdogan rally on G-20 visit
BERLIN (AP) — Germany will deny permission for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to address Turks at a rally when he visits for the upcoming Group of 20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany’s foreign minister said Thursday.
Turkey officially requested permission Wednesday for Erdogan to make the appearance while in Germany for the July 7-8 summit, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said during a trip to Russia. Gabriel said he told his Turkish counterpart weeks ago that “we don’t think this is a good idea.”
“We are telling Turkey that we are convinced such an appearance in Germany is not possible,” Gabriel said.
Germany has “no obligation” to allow a campaign appearance and “it is not a violation of the precepts of democracy,” he added. “This is an assessment of Germany’s foreign policy interests, and they are very clear.”
Relations between the two countries have been frayed by a widening range of issues, including Turkey’s jailing of two German journalists.
Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, decried what he said was the “provocative and malevolent” stance of “some German politicians.”
Kalin accused German officials of applying double standards by lecturing Turkey on human rights but preventing the country’s president from meeting his citizens. Kalin also renewed Turkish accusations of German support to groups considered terrorists by Turkey, which Germany rejects.
Earlier Thursday, Gabriel said that “Mr. Erdogan is an important guest at the G-20 and will be received with all honors by us there. But we believe everything that goes beyond that is inappropriate at this point in time.”
He pointed to stretched police resources around the G-20 summit as well as Germany’s current tensions with Turkey. However, Gabriel noted that the German government could not prevent Erdogan from speaking at a Turkish consulate, if he decides to do so.
Erdogan last addressed supporters in Germany in May 2015. Germany has a large ethnic Turkish minority.
Earlier this year, Erdogan accused Germany, and Chancellor Angela Merkel, of “committing Nazi practices” after some local authorities blocked appearances by Turkish ministers hoping to campaign in Germany ahead of Turkey’s referendum on expanding the president’s powers.
“We hope that Germany will not repeat the grave mistakes that were made during the (Turkish) referendum process and remind (Berlin) that Turkish-German relations that go back centuries cannot be sacrificed to short-term electoral calculations,” Kalin said in a statement.
Germany holds a national election on Sept. 24.
Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report.