The German states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saarland, which are home to relatively small Turkish communities, recently announced that they were banning rallies to be held by Turkish politicians.
However, the authorities had seemingly overlooked the fact that there were actually no meetings planned to be held in the two states, leading some German media outlets to dub the move as a political stunt to get more votes.
Following the footsteps of fellow German state Saarland, which announced the ban on Turkish rallies a day earlier, the Saxony-Anhalt announcement came on Wednesday. But, given the small size of Turkish population in these two states, no programs had actually been planned there, confirmed the German Interior Ministry.
Later, reports in German media suggested that Saarland's State Premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer's move was politically motivated and taken to get more votes in the upcoming state elections on March 26.
Saxony-Anhalt, however, took this decision after its state elections. Its Premier Reiner Haseloff told German daily Bild on Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was welcomed to Germany to discuss bilateral relations; however, he would not allow him to address Turkish citizens in a rally in his state.
German-Turkish relations have been strained over the past few weeks after a planned and previously announced meeting that would have been attended by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ in Baden-Württemberg was canceled only a few hours before the event, due to alleged security reasons.
Reports in the local media claimed that a number of German politicians had demanded that Bozdağ as well as other Turkish ministers' meetings be prevented.
Bozdağ was not the only Turkish minister whose program was canceled by German authorities. Authorities in the city of Cologne canceled a Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) event that was going to be attended by Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi on March 5.
Germany is home to nearly 3 million Turkish immigrants and around half are eligible to vote in Turkey's upcoming April 16 referendum on the proposed constitutional reforms for a transition to a presidential system.