Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he will speak to Turkish expatriates on the occasion of a mosque opening in Cologne during a state visit to Germany at the end of September, the T24 news website reported on Monday.
“The Religious Affairs Directorate [Diyanet] has constructed a beautiful mosque in Cologne. We will, God willing, attend the inauguration of the mosque during the visit. The president [of North Rhine-Westphalia] will accompany us in Cologne. He is also vice president of the CDU [Christian Democratic Union]. I will give an address there,” Erdoğan told journalists on his jet while returning from Azerbaijan.
The Hürriyet daily on Friday reported that Erdoğan had requested approval from German authorities to address Turkish expatriates in Cologne.
In his speech Erdoğan is expected to extend his thanks to the Turkish community for the votes he received from abroad in the general and presidential elections of June 24.
The last time Erdoğan met with Turkish expatriates in Germany was in May 2015 when he attended a youth meeting held at the DM Arena in Karlsruhe.
His request to address Turks via teleconference during a pro-democracy meeting following a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, however, was denied by the German government for security reasons.
A survey published by the German Bild newspaper on Tuesday revealed that a large majority of Germans are opposed to the idea of Erdoğan delivering a speech during his visit.
An earlier poll conducted on the heels of the announcement of the visit by the Die Welt newspaper had suggested that 69 percent of Germans did not even approve of the visit itself.