Ankara pushes back at Berlin over Erdoğan’s program

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Turkish deputy prime minister and government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

Turkish deputy prime minister and government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş said on Monday that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would proceed with his planned program in Germany despite objections from Berlin, CNN Türk reported.

“Mr. President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] has a program planned in Hamburg where he will go for the G-20 summit and will meet with Turkish citizens living there,” said Kurtulmuş during a press conference in Ankara following a Cabinet meeting.

Kurtulmuş also said the current tension between Berlin and Ankara was about the political tension in Germany.

“Some German politicians unfortunately use opposition to Turkey and Erdoğan in their domestic politics. Those tensions have been produced by German politicians. Thus, we cannot do anything about them,” added Kurtulmuş.

A possible rally to be held by Erdoğan in Germany during the July 7-8 G-20 summit further strained relations, which were already frayed due to a German veto of the entry into Germany of members of Erdoğan’s security detail who attacked protesters in Washington in May.

Earlier on Thursday Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat candidate for chancellor of Germany, called for a ban on Erdoğan’s planned political rally in Germany.

On the same day, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel voiced disapproval of a rally to be held by Erdoğan and implied that Chancellor Angela Merkel was of the same opinion.

A spokesperson for the Turkish Embassy in Berlin said on Saturday that Erdoğan does not necessarily need the approval of the German government to address Turkish citizens at the consulate.

German officials are concerned about increased tension and clashes between pro-Erdoğan supporters and Kurdish nationalists around the G20 summit.

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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