Turkish FM criticizes Germany over ban on campaigning

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized Germany's campaigning ban for Turkish politicians ahead of parliament and presidential elections in Turkey on June 24.

This ban violates the right of assembly. But Germany has decided not to allow any election campaign, and we have to respect this decision, Cavusoglu said in an exclusive interview with German news agency DPA.

Around 1.4 million Turkish immigrants living in Germany are eligible to vote in Turkey's parliamentary and presidential elections. While the German government gave permission for setting up polling stations in Turkish consulates, it ruled out the organization of campaign events across the country.

Cavusoglu deplored contradictory practices of German local authorities, which he said declined permission for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party to organize campaign events, but tolerated those of opposition parties.

We also witnessed that supporters of PKK and a pro-PKK party could carry out election campaign events here, he said, referring to the recent rallies organized in cities of Cologne and Berlin by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

Germany-based Yeni Ozgur Politika daily, which is regarded as the terrorist group PKK's media outlet, has also started a propaganda campaign in support of the HDP.

The Turkish foreign minister renewed a call on German authorities to take more serious measures against the propaganda activities of the PKK, which is also listed as a terrorist organization in Germany.

We welcome the measures taken last year against the PKK, but it seems that German authorities can and should do more, he stressed.

The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it remains active, with nearly 14,000 followers in the country.

Mevcut Cavusoglu expressed hope that in the upcoming elections, a majority of Turkish immigrants would back President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party.

The great majority of Turks living abroad, also in Germany, are supporting us. Because they see how Turkey has changed in the last 16 years, he said, referring to the economic growth and transformation in Turkey under AK Party rule.

In the April 2017 referendum, 63 percent of the Turkish electorate in Germany voted for constitutional reforms backed by President Erdogan.

We expect to get the same support, possibly even more, from the Turkish community in Germany and Europe, he said.

Cavusoglu also said he was hopeful that Erdogan would win the presidency in the first round of voting.

I think we will get at least 55 percent, he said, adding that he was confident the AK Party would also win an absolute majority at the parliament.

Source: Anadolu Agency