Turkish deputy PM Akdağ slams Germany over election campaign ban

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ on Monday slammed Germany for imposing a ban on campaigning for elections in Turkey, claiming that Turks living in the country have a democratic right to be informed by politicians of Turkish parties.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, “Almost three million Turks live in Germany. It is the democratic right of these people to be informed in the election campaign of politicians of all Turkish parties about their goals and ideas,” Akdağ told German newspaper Welt.

He said Germany should allow the campaigns of Turkish politicians in Germany and not violate this “democratic right.” Akdağ recalled that Turkey was allowed to conduct election campaigns in Germany in previous elections and said the Turkish government could not understand why the same was not being done for the upcoming early elections.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at a meeting in Sarajevo on Sunday afternoon and urged Turks to unite for the presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 and asked for their support, stating: “Let’s give a strong response that will be heard by Germany, France and Belgium. Are you ready to show the power of European Turks to the world?”

The event in Sarajevo was the only one of its kind scheduled in Europe after several EU countries banned campaign rallies, including Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

“Today, if some European countries exhibit demeaning behavior towards me and our land, the reason is the disarray of Turks in those countries,” Erdoğan argued. “At a time when renowned European countries claiming to be the cradle of civilization have failed, Bosnia and Herzegovina showed by allowing us to gather here that it is a real democracy, not a so-called one,” he told a crowd.

Erdogan claimed the most enmity towards Turkey in European parliaments is being exhibited by people of Turkish origin. “On June 24, we will not only elect a president and lawmakers; we will also make a choice for the next century of our country,” Erdogan added, referring to the upcoming elections in Turkey.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who heads a right-wing coalition opposed to Turkey joining the European Union, said last month Erdogan would be barred from “trying to exploit” Europe’s Turkish communities.

On June 24, Turkey will hold both presidential and parliamentary early elections. Turkish expatriates will vote in the elections in 60 countries.

According to data obtained from the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YBT), Turkish citizens who have registered on the foreign electoral rolls will be able to vote at 123 representative missions June 7-19 or at customs gates June 7-24.

A minimum of 500 voters must be registered at a foreign representation for a polling station to be established, as per election rules. Germany with 13 representative missions has the highest number of polling stations. Turkish voters in Germany, France and Austria will be able to vote June 7-19.

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