Turkish FM denounces German rally bans

ANKARA-The Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday vowed to retaliate following the cancelation of constitutional referendum rallies by local German authorities last week.

Speaking at a gathering in Istanbul, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "We don't want for things to take a turn for the worst with any country, including Germany. Those who show a hostile attitude will suffer retaliation."

"Tonight, we will gather with our citizens in Hamburg. No one can block us from gathering with our citizens, this ban should be lifted," he said.

He said freedom of assembly was a democratic right, adding that "European standards and values allow this".

Cavusoglu is expected to address the Turkish community in the northern German port city Hamburg on Tuesday evening. Tensions between Ankara and Berlin flared recently following certain German cities' decisions to cancel several rallies of top Turkish ministers.

They were scheduled to speak before representatives of Germany's 3 million-strong Turkish community about the referendum on constitutional changes that would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president.

Erdogan slammed German authorities on Sunday for undermining the freedom of expression and right to assembly, calling such practices "no different from the Nazi ones of the past".

Nearly 1.5 million Turkish residents in Germany are eligible to vote in Turkey's referendum on constitutional changes. Turkish citizens in Germany can cast their votes at consulates between March 27 and April 9.

The referendum is scheduled to be held on April 16 in Turkey.

Source: Anadolu Agency