Banning rallies ‘systematic’, says Turkey’s EU minister

ANKARA-Barring Turkish ministers from holding rallies in Germany is "systematic" and "totally unacceptable", Turkey's EU minister said Tuesday.

Celik's remarks came during a phone conversation with his German counterpart, Michael Roth, according to a source from Turkey's Ministry of EU Affairs.

"We would like this situation to be fixed. They keep saying this is a matter of local authorities and security.

"We [Turkey] are a country that is strong enough to ensure the security of any German politician who wants to address the German citizens in Turkey," Celik told his counterpart, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Celik said the cancellation of Turkish ministers' rallies was a "systematic blocking of the Turkish government", recalling Cemil Bayik [a senior figure of the PKK terrorist group] had attended via teleconference a meeting in Germany that was organized by PKK sympathizers last September.

Relations between the two countries have been particularly strained since last week, when German local authorities cancelled several rallies of Turkish justice and economy ministers. They were scheduled to address the representatives of Germany's 3 million-strong Turkish community on the proposed constitutional change for transition to a presidential system in Turkey.

Last Thursday, the municipality of Gaggenau in southwest Germany revoked its permission for Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag's meeting, citing concerns about overcrowding. This prompted Bozdag to cancel his planned visit to Germany altogether.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci's planned address on Sunday to a Turkish community in western city of Cologne was also cancelled by local authorities over security concerns.

The controversial move of local authorities came after Germany's opposition parties and several media organizations called on authorities to not allow Turkish politicians to address rallies ahead of April 16 referendum in Turkey.

While several opposition figures also called for a travel ban against Turkish politicians, the German government ruled out such a move.

The rally ban has drawn strong criticism from the Turkish government and opposition parties alike.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Banning rallies ‘systematic’, says Turkey’s EU minister

ANKARA-Barring Turkish ministers from holding rallies in Germany is "systematic" and "totally unacceptable", Turkey's EU minister said Tuesday.

Celik's remarks came during a phone conversation with his German counterpart, Michael Roth, according to a source from Turkey's Ministry of EU Affairs.

"We would like this situation to be fixed. They keep saying this is a matter of local authorities and security.

"We [Turkey] are a country that is strong enough to ensure the security of any German politician who wants to address the German citizens in Turkey," Celik told his counterpart, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Celik said the cancellation of Turkish ministers' rallies was a "systematic blocking of the Turkish government", recalling Cemil Bayik [a senior figure of the PKK terrorist group] had attended via teleconference a meeting in Germany that was organized by PKK sympathizers last September.

Relations between the two countries have been particularly strained since last week, when German local authorities cancelled several rallies of Turkish justice and economy ministers. They were scheduled to address the representatives of Germany's 3 million-strong Turkish community on the proposed constitutional change for transition to a presidential system in Turkey.

Last Thursday, the municipality of Gaggenau in southwest Germany revoked its permission for Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag's meeting, citing concerns about overcrowding. This prompted Bozdag to cancel his planned visit to Germany altogether.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci's planned address on Sunday to a Turkish community in western city of Cologne was also cancelled by local authorities over security concerns.

The controversial move of local authorities came after Germany's opposition parties and several media organizations called on authorities to not allow Turkish politicians to address rallies ahead of April 16 referendum in Turkey.

While several opposition figures also called for a travel ban against Turkish politicians, the German government ruled out such a move.

The rally ban has drawn strong criticism from the Turkish government and opposition parties alike.

Source: Anadolu Agency