Turkey accuses Germany of 'democracy deficit' over campaign ban

AFP , Wednesday 23 May 2018

This handout photo released and taken on May 22, 2018 by the Turkish Presidential Press Office, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) breaking his fast along side his wife Emine Erdogan (C-L) during an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner at the home of Turkish citizens Huseyin Cahit Sargin in Ankara, during his presidential campaign. (AFP photo)

Germany is showing a "democracy deficit" by denying Turkish politicians permission to campaign ahead of their June elections, the deputy chairman of the ruling AKP party said in an interview Wednesday.

The German government, like Austria and the Netherlands, has refused permission for Turkish election rallies to be held on its soil ahead of Turkish legislative and presidential elections on June 24.

"I think that our German friends have a deficit when it comes to democracy," Hayati Yazici told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

Out of three million Turkish immigrants living in Germany, "1.5 million of them have the right to vote" in Turkey, the AKP deputy chair said.

"Is it fair for Germany to curtail their right to inform themselves before they vote?" he added.

Berlin has insisted it applies the no campaigning rule to all other nations within three-month periods before they hold elections.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who heads the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and is hoping for a new term with strengthened powers, last Sunday addressed thousands of expatriate Turks in Sarajevo.

A year ago Germany and other European countries also banned a series of planned Turkish campaign events for a referendum that extended Erdogan's powers.

Erdogan then denounced Germany's "Nazi practices" and accused it of harbouring Kurdish "terrorists" and plotters of a failed coup against him in July 2016.

Berlin and Ankara have since sought to calm the deep diplomatic crisis, with Ankara notably releasing a German-Turkish journalist from the newspaper Die Welt after a year in prison.

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