Germany rules out Erdoğan event with Turkish community


Germany's government has rejected a request by President Tayyip Erdoğan to address Turkish citizens while attending the G20 summit in Germany next week.

Germany's government on Friday moved to block President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from addressing a Turkish community rally during next week's planned G20 visit to Hamburg, risking a further deterioration in ties with Ankara.

In a communication sent to the Turkish embassy in Berlin, the German Foreign Ministry said any public appearance by a foreign leader for a political event with his or her own citizens was only possible with the authorization of the German government.

The ministry added that an official request for such a meeting should be sent at least 10 days before the planned event.

Erdoğan is scheduled to visit Germany next week to participate in the G20 summit in Hamburg between July 7 and 8.

Representatives of Germany's three-million-strong Turkish community were planning to host Erdoğan at a public event on the sidelines of the summit.

However, German opposition parties have fiercely opposed Erdoğan's planned address, increasing pressure on the government ahead of a general election to be held in September.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a news conference in Berlin the government had decided on new rules regarding the public appearances of foreign politicians during visits to Germany. He said all diplomatic missions in Berlin had been informed about them by a verbal note sent on Friday.

Schaefer said Berlin would, in principle, not authorize such events if they fell within three months of elections in the expat community's country, in order to prevent importing foreign internal conflicts into Germany.

He said these rules were applicable to all countries but did not include fellow EU member states.

Asked whether the Turkish president could address his countrymen at the Turkish embassy or a consulate without prior consent from the German government, Schaefer insisted the new rules also applied to diplomatic missions.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters during a visit to Russia on Thursday his government was not willing to permit a meeting of President Erdoğan with his compatriots in Germany on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

"As we will be hosting the G20 summit, we will not have sufficient police officers available to provide the necessary security. I also openly stated that such a public appearance would neither be appropriate nor politically apposite, given the current tensions that exist with Turkey," he said.

Despite disagreements between Berlin and Ankara over public appearances by Turkish politicians in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman underlined on Friday the importance of Erdoğan's participation at the G20 summit.

"I would like to emphasize the following on behalf of the German federal government: President Erdoğan is an important guest for us and we would welcome his participation in the G20 summit," he said.

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