Turkey's foreign minister says he plans to go ahead with a rally for Turkish expat voters in Germany, purportedly banned for security reasons, as the rift between the two NATO members widens. Silvia Antonioli reports.
Turkey's government is defying what they've called a "systematic effort" to prevent Turkish expats in Germany from attending rallies in support of their president, Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey's foreign minister traveling to Hamburg on Tuesday (March 7), stating he planned to go ahead with the rallies anyway -- after events in two cities were banned. The cancellations emblematic of a widening rift between the two NATO allies. On Monday (March 6) Erdogan himself accused Germany of clinging to its "Nazi era". There are 1.5 million Turkish voters living in Germany, and the rallies were designed to encourage them to vote in favour of giving Erdogan sweeping new executive powers in an upcoming referendum. However, protests were expected. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists the rallies were cancelled by local authorities for security reasons -- not by her national government. Similar events in other cities allowed to proceed. Germany and much of Europe are dependent on Turkey to curb the flow of illegal immigration into the continent. But they've also been critical of what they call a heavy handed response to July's failed coup against Erdogan. He's jailed tens of thousands and cracked down on the media, including jailing a German journalist last week. On the flip side, Turkey's alleged Germany is harbouring Kurdish militants deemed by the EU to be a terror organisation, an accusation Berlin has denied. And years of negotiations for Turkey to be admitted to the EU have gone practically nowhere. A resurgence of far-right, anti-Muslim politicians in Europe, they say, is feeding the divide.