Updated: August 22, 2018 11:41:32 pm
Turkey told North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) partner Germany on Friday it must “learn how to behave” if it wanted to maintain relations after two German towns stopped Turkish ministers speaking at meetings of supporters of President Tayyip Erdogan. The comments by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reflected a broader souring of ties between the two countries, tested most recently by Turkey’s arrest on Monday of Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for the prominent Die Welt newspaper.
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Germany said on Thursday the arrest, the first of a German correspondent under the crackdown that followed a failed July coup, had caused grave damage to ties. Cavusoglu, talking to reporters in Ankara, said that “if necessary we will give a response in every way”, but did not elaborate.
“The obstruction of meetings in Germany is a sign of how much Germany and the West are displaying double standards,” Cavusoglu said.
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The town of Gaggenau withdrew permission on Thursday for a meeting where Turkish minister Bekir Bozdag had been due to speak. The address would have been part of efforts to garner support among Germany’s 1.5 million Turkish citizens for an April referendum on expanding Erdogan’s presidential powers. City authorities cited a lack of space in the car park designated for the meeting.
Bozdag cancelled a meeting with his German counterpart and flew back to Turkey. In Ankara, the Turkish foreign ministry summoned the German ambassador for an explanation, ministry sources said.
The city of Cologne also blocked an event where Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybecki was to speak on Sunday, amid security concerns. “German officials say that when Turkish ministers come to Germany they must speak with German ministers. With such pressure we will not speak with you,” Cavusoglu said. “If you want to maintain relations with us, you have to learn how to behave. That is our message to Germany.”
Ankara’s relations with Berlin have soured especially since the attempted coup in July where Turkey said west European countries had failed to condemned the military putschists quickly and emphatically enough.
Erdogan’s crackdown after the coup, mass arrests and dismissals, have also draw sharp ciriticism in the European Union. But Germany is wary of rising tensions, seeking continued Turkish commitment to procedures preventing large movements of refugees from Turkey to Europe.
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