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Turkey slams deficit in German democracy over campaign ban

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo, taken on March 6, 2018, shows Turkish President and Leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) greeting people as Vice Chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Hayati Yazici (R) looks on during the AK Party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey. (AFP photo)

A senior official from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has again blasted the German government for refusing to allow Turkish politicians to campaign for the June election, saying that ban is a sign of deficit in the German democracy.

Hayati Yazici, the deputy chairman of the AKP, said Wednesday that Germany’s ban on election events for a community of 1.5 million immigrants who have the right to vote in Turkish  elections was a sign that Germany was violating its own democratic standards.

“Is it fair for Germany to curtail their right to inform themselves before they vote?” said Yazici, adding, “I think that our German friends have a deficit when it comes to democracy.”

Yazici made the remarks in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The comments came days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed thousands of Turks in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Many of those attending the rally were citizens from Germany, Netherlands, Austria and elsewhere who have not been able to attend Turkish elections events in their home countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and his wife Emine Erdogan wave during a pre-election rally in Sarajevo on May 20, 2018. (AFP photo)

Germany has repeatedly defended its decision to ban foreign election campaigning, saying it applies to all other countries if they want to stage similar events. Turkey has denied the claims, saying Berlin is deliberately opposing Erdogan’s government, especially since Ankara launched a crackdown to nab those behind a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Erdogan has also blasted German authorities for what he has described as their sympathy for Kurdish militants in Turkey, saying Berlin has resorted to the practices of the Nazi era to harbor Kurdish “terrorists” and plotters of the coup.

Germany has been among the fierce critics of Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown, which has seen more than 200,000 people either jailed or discharged, saying Ankara has acted beyond the rule of law.

Germany’s ban on Turkish election campaigns was subject of heated debate last year when authorities prevented senior Turkish government officials from attending rallies in Germany to promote a referendum on changes to the constitution which could finally allow Erdogan to assume extended powers as president.  

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