Germany cancels campaign rally of AKP’s deputy chair

Mehdi Eker.

A campaign rally to be held by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Mehdi Eker in Germany was cancelled on Thursday, TGRTHaber reported. According to the report Eker’s program in Hannover was cancelled due to problems related with the meeting hall.

The campaign events of Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu were cancelled in Germany for similar reasons.

Another of Eker’s campaign rallies in Stockholm was moved to a different location after the landlord cancelled the rental contract on Saturday.

The governor of German state Saarland has said on Tuesday that she wants to prevent Turkish government officials from holding political rallies there before Turkey’s constitutional referendum. Governor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement that she would use “all opportunities” to prevent such rallies, adding that “Turkish domestic conflicts have no place in Germany. Campaign appearances that threaten the domestic peace in our country should be banned.”

The move would mirror a similar move by the Netherlands that has stoked tensions between Turkey and Western Europe. So far, Germany’s federal government has said that it won’t impose a blanket ban on members of the Turkish government holding political rallies in the country.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has also said his country needs no “extra tuition” from Turkey on fighting terrorism or countering the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Germany’s interior minister has appealed to residents of Turkish origin not to regard people who disagree with them as traitors, Nazis, terrorists or enemies of Turkey. De Maiziere said on Tuesday that “We will not tolerate it if representatives of other states try to position whole groups of the population against the country in which they have lived freely for many years or since their birth, where they work, go to school, bring up their children, in which they are at home.”

Turkey’s relations with Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have been strained over these countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to hold rallies there ahead of the public referendum in Turkey in April.

A large number of Turkish citizens or people of Turkish origin live in these countries, and Turkish citizens living abroad have the right to vote in elections and referenda.

Turkey is a candidate to join the EU, although the membership negotiations have made little progress over the past decade. The country has become a vital partner in a deal with the EU to curb the passage of migrants and refugees from Turkey into Europe. (SCF with March 16, 2017

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