German authorities have been following the extending effects of the upcoming elections in Turkey in the country, including the situation of journalists from Turkey who are under threat, The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) told Deutsche Welle on Friday.
According to the BfV, Germany’s federal domestic intelligence agency, the upcoming elections in Turkey, likely to be held on 14 May, might affect the supporters of extremist Turkish groups living in Germany.
“On the one side there are the supporters of the government, on the other side there are groups of democratic opposition,” said the agency in a statement, including that organisations listed as terrorist groups, like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), are among those being monitored as Turkish elections near.
Opposition journalists from Turkey that live in Germany have also been followed and tried to be repressed through threats, the BfV said, adding that following and revealing such actions as well as taking necessary precautions are under its responsibility.
The agency also said that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are not among groups that have been monitored.
However, along with Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the BfV monitors the activities of the Union of International Democrats (UID), an AKP-affiliated lobby group that mainly organises election campaigns in Germany.
The German ban on Turkish election campaigns will start on 14 February, if Turkey decides to set the election date as 14 May as planned. During the 90-day period, Turkish government officials and lawmakers will not be able to organise campaign events in Germany.
Turkey’s 2018 elections caused tensions between Ankara and Berlin, when Germany for the first time banned rallies of Turkish politicians on its soil. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the time described the decision as “Nazi tactics”.
Due to German authorities’ objections, Erdoğan had to cancel a planned visit to meet his German counterpart in Berlin on 27 January. The German government saw the visit as an effort to campaign for upcoming Turkish elections and asked Erdoğan to publicly criticise Mustafa Açıkgöz, an AKP lawmaker who in recent months has been visiting Germany frequently and is known for his comments in a speech on January 13 in Neuss. Açıkgöz in his speech called for the annihilation of all groups opposing Erdoğan.
Yet, Erdoğan has found new ways to bypass bans on Turkish elections campaigns imposed by several European countries. The president last week talked to his supporters in Belgium and the Netherlands via telephone and called for their support.