Turkish minister to attend political rally in Germany to drum up expatriates' votes on constitution

Published March 5th, 2017 - 03:00 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks past an honor guard, in the capital, Ankara. (AFP/File)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks past an honor guard, in the capital, Ankara. (AFP/File)

Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci plans to attend a rally in a Cologne hotel on Sunday to drum up support among expatriate Turks for a referendum that aims to make controversial changes to the Turkish constitution.

He also plans to address a concert in the city of Leverkusen, according to a list of planned events for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Zeybekci's planned appearance comes amid tensions between Berlin and Ankara over visits to Germany by Turkish officials to campaign for a "yes" vote in the referendum that would give sweeping powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and weaken parliament.

Tensions were further strained last week when German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for Die Welt newspaper, was jailed pending trial on charges including membership of an extremist organization.

Two German towns last week banned similar planned rallies involving Turkish officials. The southern German town of Gaggenau cited security issues, and a bomb threat was later made against the town hall.

The Netherlands has banned a planned rally of Turks in Rotterdam later this week, and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern on Sunday called for an EU-wide ban on all such campaigning.

A spokesman for Cologne police said that officers were preparing for the event featuring Zeybekci. Two other events - one in Cologne's Porz district and the other in the nearby town of Frechen - had already been banned before the weekend.

More than a million Turks living in Germany are eligible to vote in the April referendum.


© 2021 dpa GmbH

You may also like