German populists free to hold meeting in Turkey, says Turkish FM

Published 17.04.2017 00:00
Updated 17.04.2017 00:31

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Saturday that if the far-right anti-immigrant German party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), would like to campaign in Turkey, it would be free do to so, and they will be allowed to hold a rally in Istanbul's enormous Yenikapi meeting arena.

"We will give them the best and the largest arena," said Çavuşoğlu, during a speech in southern Antalya province. "We are defending democracy and freedom."

Many politicians from EU countries, particularly Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, publicly spoke out against Turkey's proposed presidential system, which will be voted upon in a referendum on Sunday.

Being one of them, the AfD itself sharply opposed Turkish referendum campaigning in Germany. Likewise, some EU states, including Germany and the Netherlands, had banned Turkish ministers from holding meetings in their cities, an action that had drawn severe criticism from the Turkish government.

The row over canceling meetings escalated, in particular after Dutch authorities denied landing permission to the plane carrying Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and later blocked Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya's convoy from entering the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam in early March.

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