German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann warned against Turkish politicians’ provocative election campaigns abroad and urged Germany’s states to use their resources to intervene.
“Should anybody make an inflammatory speech in a public place in Germany, authorities have the opportunity to intervene,” Buschmann told Hanover-based media group RND. “Federal states are responsible here. I encourage them to make use of their opportunity.”
Turkish politicians have spoken of “annihilating political opponents” before, the minister said. “This is unacceptable by our standards. Democracy is not war, but political competition.”
Appearances by foreign officials and representatives are “ultimately, subject to approval”, he added. German law bans appearances by non-EU politicians to hold any meetings three months before their elections. The law was installed in part due to conflict over voting in Turkey in 2017.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was refused an audience with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in January, with German authorities citing fears that Erdoğan and other Turkish officials engaging in election propaganda, according to Turkish daily Sözcü.
The refusal was motivated by Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP Mustafa Açıkgöz’s earlier comments that the government would “not give a right to life in Germany as we don’t in Turkey” to organisations they consider to be terrorists. At the time, the German Foreign Ministry denounced the comments and said there was “no place for hate speech in Germany”.
“If Turkish representatives don’t play by the rules, we need to consider consequences,” the ministry said.