Turkey denounces German officials opposed to Erdogan’s G20 speech

Turkey denounces German officials opposed to Erdogan’s G20 speech

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry criticized several German politicians who opposed the Turkish president’s plan to hold a speech in Germany for ethnic Turks in another diplomatic spat between the two nations.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday requested permission to address a gathering of his compatriots on the sidelines of a G20 meeting set to be held in Hamburg starting July 7, but his request was met with opposition from several senior German lawmakers, Efe news reported.

The ministry statement focused its criticism on German opposition leader Martin Schulz, who said of the request: “Foreign politicians, who tread (on) our values at home, must not have a stage for speeches in Germany.”

The ministry said Schulz’s statement “reflects the true face of the mentality that we confront as well as the double standard of those who aim to lecture the others. We strongly condemn and refuse this person’s unacceptable remarks targeting our President”.

Germany’s top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel also came out against the request, telling local media during a visit to Russia that he thought it was a “bad idea”.

This was latest in a string of bilateral spats between Berlin and Ankara since the attempted coup d’etat that took Turkey by surprise in July 2016.

Ankara’s unofficial requests for Berlin to extradite alleged coup plotters in hiding have been largely dismissed, while the arrest in Istanbul of a Turkish-German journalist accused of inciting terror sparked ire among Germany’s officials.

A decision to ban Turkish rallies on its soil ahead of an April referendum on constitutional change prompted Erdogan to accuse the German government of “Nazi-style behaviour”.

Germany also decided to pull its troops out of a NATO military base in southern Turkey after Ankara officials on several occasions blocked visiting access for German politicians.

Around 3 million ethnic Turks are thought to live in Germany, and about half those have the right to vote in Turkey.

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