The Association of German Cities on Saturday has urged the German government not to blame municipalities, after Chancellor Angela Merkel said that it was a municipality's decision to ban a speech of Turkey's Justice Minister Bekird Bozdağ and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci on Thursday.
Eva Lohse, head of the Association of German Cities, told the German daily Rheinische Post that the issue can be solved through foreign policy and diplomacy, and said the problem should not be passed to municipalities.
Merkel on Friday had distanced her government from a controversial ban on the Turkish justice minister's meeting with the expat community in Germany, saying that the decision to cancel the rally was made by local authorities.
She claimed that the federal government had no influence on the decision at all.
In response to the decision, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said "It is very clear that this decision was a scandalous one beyond the municipality. It is a decision against diplomatic courtesy. Germany and German authorities, which keep mentioning democracy, state of law, human rights and rule of law while accusing everyone else but themselves non-compliance with democracy and human rights, have barred the Turkish community from its right of assembly, a principle of universal law, human rights convention."
Authorities in the German city of Gaggenau had revoked permission for the meeting at short notice, saying there was not enough space for parking vehicles and entrances to the rally.
Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in recent months as Turkish leaders strongly criticized their German counterparts for turning a blind eye to terrorist organizations such as the PKK and FETÖ, which they say use Germany as a platform for their activities targeting Turkey.
Tensions between the two countries further escalated last week after German media and politicians sharply criticized Turkey for the pre-trial detention of Die Welt's Istanbul correspondent Deniz Yücel on charges of terror propaganda.
Several leading Turkish politicians from the government as well as the opposition parties are planning several meetings in Germany with Turkish migrants this month, ahead of a referendum on April 16, on the proposed changes to introduce a presidential system in Turkey.
Among Germany's 3 million-strong Turkish community, nearly 1.5 million of them are eligible to vote. They are going to cast their votes at Turkish consulates in Germany between March 27 and April 9.
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