Erdoğan says Germany committing suicide by not letting him to speak to Turks

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JULY 1: President of Turkey and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during AK Party's provincial meeting in Ankara, Turkey on July 1, 2017. AFP

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said that Germany is committing suicide by not allowing him to speak to Turks living in Germany on the sidelines of a G20 summit that will begin in Hamburg on July 7.

“Germany is committing suicide,” he said, adding that the country must correct its mistake.

Erdoğan’s remarks came during an interview with German weekly Die Zeit.

Berlin’s refusal to allow a possible rally by Erdoğan in Germany during the G20 summit strained relations between the two countries, 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.

Berlin also warned Turkey on Monday not to hold any rallies at Turkish missions in Germany due to a ban on activities by non-EU leaders before the federal elections on Sept. 24.

At a press conference in Berlin, German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Martin Schafer warned Turkey not to violate the ban with a rally planned by Erdoğan, who will be in Germany on July 7-8 for the G20 summit.

Underlining that Germany does not expect any disagreement with Turkish authorities on the issue, Schafer said any other action would be considered a violation of the German government’s decision.

He also added that the ban includes a speech by Erdoğan at a Turkish consulate and its distribution as a video message.

In the interview Erdoğan also called on Germany to extradite supporters of the faith-based Gülen movement, which he accuses of organizing a failed coup attempt last July, an allegation the movement strongly denies.

Erdoğan said he would view Germany as a country “protecting terrorists” unless movement supporters were returned to Turkey.

The Turkish president labels the Gülen movement a terrorist organization despite the lack of any terrorist activity on the part of the movement.

Hundreds of individuals who had links to the Gülen movement have sought asylum in Germany due to an ongoing witch-hunt against Gülen followers in Turkey.

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