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[UPDATE] Bozdağ retaliates by canceling meeting with German minister

Turkey Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag answering questions in parliament on the abolition of parliamentary immunity in Ankara on May 17, 2016. AFP PHOTO

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has reacted against a German decision not to allow him to give a speech arranged for Thursday evening, saying he has cancelled a meeting with his German counterpart, also scheduled for Thursday.

Gaggenau, a small town in Germany, on Thursday cancelled a speech by Bozdağ set for that evening amid outrage over the arrest in Turkey of Turkish-German reporter Deniz Yücel on charges of terrorism.

“I was to go to Gaggenau and also have a meeting with the German justice minister. It was a rendezvous demanded by the German side. We were to meet at Karlsruhe at 18:00 and have a chance to talk about certain issues. Since the meeting in Gaggenau was cancelled, I have cancelled the rendezvous with the German minister. We will not have the meeting. We are returning to Turkey,” said Bozdağ in reaction to the decision.

“It is not acceptable that the German authorities, who make speeches about human rights, democracy, the rule of law and freedom of expression, and who accuse all except themselves of being lacking on these issues, cannot tolerate a meeting of the Turkish community,” added Bozdağ.

Deutsche Welle reported that the town of Gaggenau withdrew its permission for Bozdağ’s speech to Turks aiming to campaign for an April 16 referendum that will bring an executive presidency to Turkey.

The town cited a lack of space for the rally as reactions in Germany against Yücel’s recent arrest mount.

Over 3 million people of Turkish descent live in Germany. Nearly 1.4 million of them are eligible to vote in Turkish elections and referenda.

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