Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced today that he expected to hold an election rally in a European city next month leading up to the June presidential and parliamentary elections, despite the fact that governments in some Western countries have declared they would ban Turkish candidates from holding campaigns on their territory.
“God willing, in May, we will hold our first gathering in a closed sports venue in Europe, in a European country. All preparations have been completed”, Erdogan said in a speech to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), without specifying what the European country is.
The early presidential and parliamentary elections requested by the Turkish president and approved by the Turkish National Assembly will be held on 24 June.
Last year, in view of the referendum on the constitutional amendment in Turkey, Austria, the Netherlands and Germany had banned many Turkish politicians from organising rallies on their soil. Erdogan then compared the German government with the Nazi regime.
After the election announcement last week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he would ban the Turkish president from “trying to exploit” the Turkish communities in Europe.
Yesterday, German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas, on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Toronto, said that no Turkish candidates would be allowed to hold political campaigns in Germany, as German law prohibited election campaigns for foreign candidates up to three months before the election.