Social Democrat leader calls for ban on Erdoğan’s rally in Germany

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European Parliament President Martin Schulz. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat candidate for chancellor of Germany, has called for a ban on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s planned political rally in Germany, Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday.

Schulz, who spoke to the Bild daily, has criticized Erdoğan’s oppression of opposition groups in Turkey and objected to his holding events during the G20 summit in Hamburg in July.

“Foreign politicians who trample our values at home must not be allowed a stage for speeches in Germany. I don’t want Mr Erdoğan, who jails opposition politicians and journalists in Turkey, to hold big rallies in Germany” Schulz said.

Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, also voiced disapproval of a political rally by Erdoğan and implied that Chancellor Angela Merkel is of the same view.

German media have reported that Erdoğan was planning to deliver a speech for Turkish people in Germany, but his applications to hold a rally have been rejected by event halls in Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dortmund and Oberhausen.

German officials are concerned about increased tension and clashes between pro-Erdoğan supporters and Kurdish nationalists around the G20 summit. Schulz, who reminded that rallies of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians were cancelled before a Turkish referendum on April 16, said Erdoğan should not be allowed to import an internal Turkish conflict to Germany, where around 3 million Turkish-Germans live.

Relations between Turkey and Germany have deteriorated over the past year due to the blocking of a campaign in Germany for a referendum in Turkey, Erdoğan’s repeated emphasis on reintroducing the death penalty, Germany’s granting of asylum to military officers and diplomats who are accused of a failed coup attempt and human rights abuses in Turkey, including the arrest of two German-Turkish journalists.

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