German gov't to prevent Erdogan from speaking to supporters during G20 summit

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-30 05:47:18|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BERLIN, June 29 (Xinhua) -- German officials wanted to prevent Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan from speaking to his supporters at the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg next week, the news magazine Spiegel reported on Thursday.

Questioned during a diplomatic visit to Russia, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) confirmed that he had "received an official request from Turkey for the Turkish president Erdogan... to address his fellow citizens".

Gabriel promptly rejected the proposal which he called "not sensible at this moment in time."

Aside from voicing the view that such speech "would not fit into the current political landscape", he doubted whether there would be "sufficient police forces to ensure security on the sidelines of the G20 summit".

Gabriel further told his Turkish counterpart Mevluet Cavusoglu that Erdogan's plans were "not a good idea", and made a proposal to chancellor Merkel for a general ban on public appearances by Non-EU politicians in the three months running up to German national elections in September.

Merkel's speaker Steffen Seibert informed Spiegel that Gabriel's views reflected the official stance of the government which had been agreed upon in advance.

Erdogan's request brought up uncomfortable memories of a wider conflict between Turkey, Germany and other EU member states over campaign rallies held by Turkish politicians across the continent in spring.

Hoping to win support amongst Turkish migrant communities for a controversial constitutional referendum in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, Erdogan and members of his AKP party ran up against heavy opposition in several European capitals.

While a German provincial high court ruled in 2016 that the German Federal Government could prevent such appearances, Merkel refused to impose a general ban on speeches by Turkish politicians ahead of the constitutional referendum. Instead she left the decision to municipalities.

In March, AKP politician and Cavusoglu were forced to hold his speech from the balcony of the Turkish consulate after Hamburg authorities ruled out an appearance in an event's hall on the grounds of fire safety.

The constitutional reform proposed by Erdogan was narrowly passed in the referendum on April 16.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been under severe strain as German politicians have increasingly voiced concern over what they view as Erdogan's autocratic tendencies.

German and European governments are also wary of Erdogan sowing discord between his supporters and opponents in migrant communities.

The Turkish government is unhappy that Berlin has granted political asylum to Turkish soldiers whom it accuses of involvement in what it described as a failed military coup against President Erdogan.

In a recent sign of mounting tensions between the two NATO members, Turkey barred German parliamentarians from visiting German troops based at the Turkish air-force base of Incirlik. The German government responded to the ban in June by confirming the re-location of the armed forces to new base in Jordan.