Erdogan: German journalist is a spy and member of PKK

Tracy FergusonMar 06, 2017

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said the federal government was not involved in canceling Bozdag's engagement in Gaggenau, or a separate rally in Cologne planned for Saturday with Turkey's economy minister.

The latest dispute comes just days after Ankara detained Deniz Yucel, 43, a correspondent for Germany's Die Welt daily, charging him with spreading terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred.

They're also looking for a scapegoat to blame for potential defeat, and the Erdogan government says that it's Germany that's behind the opposition.

"The Bad Rotenfels hall, parking lots, and road access are insufficient to meet that demand", they told media.

City authorities cited a lack of space in the auto park designated for the meeting.

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Recalling previous incidents, including one past year when Erdogan was also blocked from addressing Turkish citizens, Cavusoglu said: "This has become a systematic practice of the German deep state".

Tensions are likely to escalate over the weekend with two further referendum events planned in western Germany attended by Turkey's economic minister Nihat Zeybekci. Gaggenau Mayor Michael Pfeiffer said the decision was not a political one.

A third town, Frechen on the outskirts of Cologne, scrapped a rally that had been scheduled for Sunday.

In protest, Bozdag cancelled his meeting with German justice minister Heiko Maas in Karlsruhe.

Berlin accuses Ankara of overreacting after a failed military coup last July, which triggered a wide-scale crackdown on supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the plot.

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After meeting Sisi, Merkel is scheduled to meet Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Egypt's top Muslim cleric.

State-run Anadolu news agency reported the meeting would take place in Germany.

"We support freedom of expression and we can criticise Turkey", she told reporters.

Germany is home to the biggest population of Turks outside Turkey with around three million in the country of Turkish origin, the legacy of a massive "guest worker" programme in the 1960s-70s.

German Justice Minister has penned a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ over Berlin's decision to ban Turkish ministers from holding events in two German cities ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted to an executive presidency.

Earlier in the day, Yıldırım said that the decision of German authorities is "very unfortunate".

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