Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has been forced to address supporters from the balcony of Turkish consul's residence in Hamburg after Germany cancels a rally he was to address.
Earlier on Tuesday, German authorities cited safety regulations and annulled a Hamburg event where Cavusoglu was supposed to deliver a speech aimed at gathering support for an April constitutional reform referendum.
After the rally was canceled, some 200 of Cavusoglu’s supporters gathered outside the consul’s home, where he criticized the German government's democracy. "Please, don't give us lessons in human rights and democracy," he said.
The Turkish foreign minister made the remarks amid a spat between Ankara and Berlin over Germany’s cancellation of events aimed at drumming up support for the referendum.
On April 16, Turkey will hold a referendum aimed at abolishing the office of the prime minister and giving more executive powers to the currently largely ceremonial position of the president.
- Erdogan approves bill on constitutional reforms, paving way for referendum
- Erdogan urges nation to vote for stronger presidency as purge continues
"We want to say to our German friends, please, stop these bad practices," said Cavusoglu. "Germany should not intervene in our elections and our referendum," he added.
"They are blocking 'yes' voters and supporting 'no' voters in our referendum," he stressed.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel rejected Cavusoglu's claims, stressing that "In our legal system, local authorities are generally in charge of security issues.”
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of reverting to Nazism after it canceled several rallies. A remark that the German Chancellery described as “absolutely unacceptable.”
- Turkey calls Germany a Nazi country, Germany calls Erdogan a willful child
- German chancellery says Nazi remarks by Turkey ‘unacceptable’
Apart from Germany, the Netherlands has also introduced a ban on pro-Erdogan rallies. Recently, Austria called on all European Union countries to enforce a ban on any pro-Erdogan campaigning ahead of the Turkish referendum.