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German-Turkish relations 'bumpy' after Erdogan speech ban

The handling of a pro-Erdogan rally in Cologne over the weekend has further strained relations between Turkey and Germany.

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German-Turkish relations 'bumpy' after Erdogan speech ban

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The handling of a pro-Erdogan rally in Cologne over the weekend has put further strain on already tense relations between Turkey and Germany.

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"How come German officials, who talk about freedom of expression, prevent our president from joining an authorized and uneventful rally via teleconference"

Numan Kurtulmus Turkish Deputy Prime Minister

On Monday, Ankara summoned Berlin’s deputy ambassador. It’s not happy about how authorities handled a pro-Erdogan rally in Cologne this weekend.

“We’ve had phases in the past that were bumpy and other phases when things went extraordinarily well. Now we have a bit of a bumpy phase,” the German foreign ministry’s spokesman Martin Schaefer told a regular news conference.

“But I think the relations between Germany and Turkey are so close and so deep… that I am quite confident we will manage again to overcome this not so easy phase of bilateral relations with Turkey,” he added.

At issue is a decision by Germany’s top court to ban Erdogan from making a video address to demonstrators rallying in Cologne on Sunday (July 31).

At least 20,000 people rallied there to show their support for Erdogan after last month’s failed military coup. German authorities feared having the president address the crowd would only fuel tension within the country’s large Turkish diaspora.

“How come German officials, who talk about freedom of expression, prevent our president from joining an authorized and uneventful rally via teleconference – in other words, prevent the right to freedom of expression,” said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.

“This decision makes no sense.”