Erdogan Requests an Audience With ‘His Fellow Countrymen’ in Germany

Published June 29th, 2017 - 12:00 GMT
Erdogan has been pushing for a referendum to reintroduce the death penalty. (AFP)
Erdogan has been pushing for a referendum to reintroduce the death penalty. (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has submitted an official request to "speak to his fellow countrymen" in Germany next week on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday.

During a visit to Russia, Gabriel said such an event was "not sensible" at the current time, both politically and due to security considerations.

"Our country is an open country, but we do not have the intention to allow that other countries' domestic conflicts be imported into our population," said Gabriel, who serves as deputy to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Earlier this year, Germany and the Netherlands blocked several events by Turkish officials who wanted to address Turkish voters ahead of a referendum on constitutional changes in Turkey, prompting Erdogan to lash out at European leaders, calling them "Nazis."

Next month, Turkey marks one year since a failed coup attempt, which exacerbated a crackdown against critics of the government.

Ankara is meanwhile looking to update the customs union agreement with the European Union, despite worsening tensions with the bloc about democracy and human rights norms.

Erdogan has been pushing for a referendum to reintroduce the death penalty. The European Union has said such a move would end the country's bid for EU membership. Germany has said it would not allow its residents to participate in such a vote.

Gabriel also called for a general ban on campaigning by non-EU leaders three months ahead of polls in their countries.


© 2019 dpa GmbH

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