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Issue #1768      March 8, 2017

German-Turkish tensions

Turkey accused the German “deep state” last week of meddling in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power grab referendum. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu cried foul a day after local authorities in the south-western town of Gaggenau withdrew permission for Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag to use a venue for a rally of Turkish immigrants on next month’s referendum on increasing presidential powers, claiming there was insufficient space.

Bozdag cancelled a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in protest, while Ankara summoned the German ambassador seeking an explanation.

Recalling previous incidents, Cavusoglu claimed: “This has become a systematic practice of the German deep state” a reference to a supposed shadow government in the Civil Service.

“They don’t want Turkish leaders to campaign because [the Germans] are working for No votes.”

Some 1.4 million Turks in Germany are eligible to vote in the April 16 referendum, which would create an executive president, abolish the office of the prime minister and weaken parliament.

Gaggenau town hall was evacuated after a bomb threat, which Mayor Michael Pfeiffer said seemed certain to be linked to the furore.

A spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said the federal government was not involved in cancelling the meeting, or a separate rally in Cologne. City authorities claimed they cancelled that event because organisers had misled them about its purpose, saying they were initially told it would be a theatre performance.

Morning Star

Next article – Normalising Trump

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