German FM assured Erdoğan of G20 speech in private before backtracking

Published 30.06.2017 17:18
Updated 30.06.2017 17:42
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German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel reportedly did not object to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's wish to address Turkish citizens alongside the upcoming G20 summit in Germany, during his latest Turkey visit.

Early June, Gabriel held a crisis meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to discuss the withdrawal of German soldiers stationed at the İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey's Adana.

The German foreign minister was also received by President Erdoğan, who reportedly told Gabriel that he would like to meet Turkish citizens on July 7 and 8 on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit in Germany.

Gabriel assured Erdoğan that there would not be any problems, a former member of the European Parliament Ozan Ceyhun told Daily Sabah.

Ceyhun, who was also present at the meeting, stated that even proposals regarding the venue of the event were made during the meeting.

"Gabriel was helpful in this respect and showed no objections to a possible appearance," Ceyhun said.

However, when an official request regarding Erdoğan's address was made, Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz opposed such an event, demanding an immediate ban.

Shortly afterwards, former SPD chairman Gabriel also said that such "events would not be meaningful at the moment."

"Schulz is using a rhetoric similar to Germany's right-wing populist AfD to get himself votes based on the hatred towards Erdoğan and the Turks. It's an obvious right-wing populist behavior," Ceyhun said.

He also questioned why Gabriel was so positive towards Erdoğan in Turkey, but then made a U-turn in Germany, acting as if the conversation had never taken place.

"This is a diplomatic scandal," said Ceyhun. "If Gabriel had directly said in Ankara that such an appearance is not a good idea, it would not have brought such a reaction from Turkey."

Ceyhun also added that he believed the SPD was using misinformation to draw more public attention with "Turkey hatred" before the upcoming elections in September.

German-Turkish relations have been strained over the past few months after German local authorities canceled public appearances by Turkish ministers and government officials campaigning ahead of the April 16 referendum in several German towns and cities, based on reasons such as the inadequacy of parking lots and security concerns, while allowing pro-PKK events and Turkish opposition officials to rally against the referendum.

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