The Turkish government denounced what it called a double standard by Germany after Berlin allowed a rally by the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the city of Cologne.
Germany, the country with the largest Turkish population in Europe, announced it would ban gatherings of foreign politicians and their supporters within its borders in advance of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary polls in Turkey on June 24.
A Turkish foreign ministry statement late on Saturday called the move to allow the HDP rally earlier in the day “the latest example of double standards” by Germany, adding symbols of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were displayed at the event.
“We strongly condemn this hypocritical approach that is neither consistent with democracy nor with the fight against terrorism, nor with the expectations of normalisation in Turkish-German relations,” the ministry said.
Al Jazeera’s efforts to reach German officials were unsuccessful at the time of this story’s publication.
Turkish and German officials have engaged in a war of words in recent years. Ankara accuses Berlin of supporting “terrorism”, while Germany has denounced the deterioration of democracy and human rights in Turkey.
Turkey says Germany supports the PKK, which has waged a decades-long war against the Turkish state.
Not the first time
Along with Germany, European countries such as the Netherlands, Austria, and Denmark also banned Turkish ministers from holding rallies within their borders before an April 2017 constitutional referendum in Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared the ban on ministers to “Nazi practices” and called Dutch authorities “Nazi remnants” after they expelled a Turkish minister who was trying to organise a rally in the country.
Berlin and Ankara traded barbs after German authorities criticised two German football players of Turkish descent for meeting and posing in photos with Erdogan in London earlier this month.
Germany and other Western European governments have repeatedly condemned the Turkish government’s detentions and civil service purges of tens of thousands of people after a failed coup attempt in July 2016.
Erdogan’s government says the crackdown follows the rule of law and aims to remove coup supporters from state institutions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in September – during a televised debate before her country’s parliamentary elections – that Turkey “should not become a member of the EU”.
Earlier this year, she also said a formal suspension of EU talks with Turkey was on the table.