Swiss say no obstacle to Çavuşoğlu’s visit

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu (L) and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (R) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Bern, Switzerland on November 03, 2016.

Despite calls from local authorities, the Swiss government stated on Thursday that there was no reason to ban a planned visit to Zurich by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, swissinfo reported.

Authorities in Zurich canton had asked the Swiss government on Wednesday to cancel Çavuşoğlu’s planned visit on Sunday.

“I’ve sent a letter to Bern, to [Swiss Foreign Minister Didier] Burkhalter, stating that we want them to take measures [so] that the planned event in Zurich on Sunday [will] not happen,” Urs Grob, communications chief at Zurich’s cantonal security directorate, told AFP.

According to the report, the Swiss government’s security services stated on Thursday that the visit currently poses no heightened threat to domestic security and that there are no grounds to limit freedom of speech and forbid the visit.

Stating that the organizers could not guarantee the safety of hotel guests, attendees and hotel staff, the Zurich hotel booked by Çavuşoğlu had cancelled his meeting room earlier on Thursday.

Switzerland, which hosts an estimated 120,000 people with Turkish roots, including around 68,000 Turkish citizens, is among the countries where tensions between pro and anti-Erdoğan supporters have increased since a failed coup on July 2016.

Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger on Wednesday reported that several Turkish citizens with diplomatic passports have been seeking political asylum in Switzerland following similar reports from other European countries since Turkey started a massive purge in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

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