Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has criticized Germany for the recent cancelation of rallies in support of constitutional change in Turkey, claiming that Berlin is working favor of the “no” campaign.
In a speech on March 7 to nearly 400 people at the Turkish consulate general in Hamburg, Çavuşoğlu criticized German authorities for favoring those opposed to the changes, which could impose an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the current head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Those who are in favor of ‘yes’ in the referendum are obstructed, but those who favor ‘no’ are supported,” he said, referring to the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments.
“This not a right attitude. Nobody has the right to interfere in a referendum and election in another country. This is also not democratic,” Çavuşoğlu said.
The minister was speaking at the diplomatic mission after a planned address at a hall in Hamburg was canceled on March 6.
He said German police, intelligence agencies and local authorities had exerted pressure on the hall’s management to cancel the event on the grounds of insufficient fire safety.
“Unfortunately this is a systematic obstruction,” he said.
Since last week, there have been nine venue cancelations in six cities.
Çavuşoğlu also accused German authorities of “double standards” and said he would raise the matter with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, on March 8.
Nearly 3 million Turkish migrants live in Germany and around half are eligible to vote in the referendum.
Turkish citizens in Germany can vote at diplomatic missions between March 27 and April 9.
The fallout over the referendum rallies is the latest sign of strained ties between Ankara and Berlin. Turkish politicians have criticized Germany and other western European nations for allegedly turning a blind eye to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which was accused of being behind the July 2016 failed coup attempt, while German politicians have criticized Turkey on its human rights record, expressing particularly anger at the detention and arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel in Istanbul.