German beverage firm uses anti-Erdoğan posters to create public awareness against authoritarianism

Germany’s beverage company Fritzkola has printed posters to create an awareness about increasing authoritarianism around the world and against the G-20 Summit in the public by depicting Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with a phrase of warning “Wake up, man!” ahead of the G-20 Summit which will be held next week in Hamburg.

Fritzkola has also printed posters for US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin beside of Erdoğan. The posters were put up in high-traffic areas like train stations, airports and central locations throughout cities in Germany and they urge the leaders and the readers to “Wake up!”

The brand Fritzkola emerged as a local Hamburg beverage out of an idea to create an alternative to Coca-Cola. Through these posters, Fritzkola aims to draw attention to the speeches the dictators and totalitarian leaders attending the G-20 will be giving.

Campaign director Mirco Weigert has said that “What is important to us is to get people talking and encourage them to take a stance. Injustice and environmental pollution should be the main topics in the G-20.”

Meanwhile, DW Türkçe has reported that President Erdoğan is planning to attend the upcoming G-20 Summit with a delegation of around 250 peopel including more than 60 security guards. It was also reported that the large number of the delegation has caused shock within the diplomatic circles. Referred to as the ‘giant delegation of Turkey’, President Erdoğan’s delegation is also thought to be this large due to his plans of holding public meetings with the Turkish diaspora in Germany.

However, Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat candidate for German chancellor, had called for a ban on Erdoğan’s political rally in Germany. Schulz had also 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 on 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. “It’s not about fire safety in the halls or the number of available parking places. It’s about Erdoğan not bringing internal political conflict in Turkey to Germany,” Schulz added.

Sigmar Gabriel, German Foreign Minister, also voiced his disapproval of a political rally by Erdoğan and implied that Chancellor Angela Merkel is of the same view. The German government believes it would be “inappropriate” for President Erdoğan to make public appearances in Germany outside the G20 summit given current tensions between the two NATO allies, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday.

Gabriel said Berlin had received a request for Erdoğan to be able to address members of the three-million-strong Turkish diaspora in the EU country. “I explained weeks ago to my Turkish colleagues that we don’t think that would be a good idea,” Gabriel said during a Russia visit, pointing at stretched police resources around the G20.

“I also said quite frankly that such an appearance would not be appropriate given the current adversarial situation with Turkey,” he added, stressing that Erdoğan would however be “received with honors” at the summit. He said the German government did not want Turkish citizens and dual nationals living in Germany to be unsettled.

Erdoğan is reported to be seeking a venue for a political rally in Dortmund on the eve of the G20 summit which will be held on July 8 and July 9, according to a report by the Deutsche Welle.

The German government had stated on June 26 that it does not expect to see Turkish security agents accused of attacking protesters in Washington during Erdogan’s visit to the country. German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said he could “assume with a good conscience that these people who have been incriminated by the US judicial authorities won’t set foot on German soil in the foreseeable future, including during the G20 summit.”

German media has reported that Erdoğan was planning to deliver a speech for Turkish people in Germany but his applications for an event organization have been rejected by the 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 the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians were cancelled before a Turkish presidential referendum on April 16, said Erdoğan should not be allowed to import an internal Turkish conflict to Germany, where around three million Turkish-Germans live.

Relations between Turkey and Germany have deteriorated over the past year due to blocking of a campaign in Germany for a presidential referendum in Turkey, Erdoğan’s repeated emphasis on reintroducing the death penalty, Germany’s grant 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.

Turkey that is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 263 journalists are now in jails as of June 24, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 239 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Ministry on June 13.

July 1, 2017

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