Turkish FM denies he violated election law by holding rallies in Germany

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ANTALYA, TURKEY - APRIL 13: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu delivers a speech during a meeting organized by the Antalya Businessmen Association in Antalya, Turkey on April 13, 2017. AFP

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has denied that he violated Turkey’s election law by holding a political rally at a Turkish diplomatic mission in Germany last month for an April 16 referendum.

Responding to a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy from İstanbul Sezgin Tanrıkulu on Thursday, Çavuşoğlu said he met with Turkish citizens at the Turkish Consulate General in Hamburg on March 7.

“[Turkish missions abroad] make an effort to bring Cabinet ministers together with our citizens living in the countries they visit. In this context, I met with our citizens in Hamburg on March 7, 2017 ahead of an official meeting with my German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, on March 8 in Berlin,” he said.

In a parliamentary question submitted on March 23, Tanrıkulu requested an explanation from Çavuşoğlu about the rallies he held in Germany to seek the support of Turkish expatriates in the referendum despite provisions prohibiting all types of election propaganda abroad.

According to Article 10 of the election law published in the Official Gazette on March 22, 2008, election campaigning outside Turkey and in Turkish missions in abroad is not allowed.

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) in its resolution No. 109, issued on Feb. 15, 2017, also prohibited election campaigning overseas and at customs stations.

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