Erdogan does not like it when his freedom of speech is limited in Germany

by omouggos

Erdogan was not allowed to address via video a rally in Cologne. (image from hurriyetdailynews.com)

There is a bit of a brouhaha developing between Germany and Turkey. On July 31 in the German city of Cologne a rally was held in opposition to the failed attempted coup in Turkey. It was scheduled that President Erdoğan would directly address the crowd via video. However, local officials and the German Constitutional Court prevented Erdoğan’s address over concerns it could incite the crowd and potentially lead to clashes with other nearby counter-demonstrations.1

As is to be expected Erdoğan and his minions are not too pleased that his speech was cancelled. Both presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın and the Turkish Foreign Ministry (FM) denounced it as “unacceptable.”2 Kalın also argued it was a violation of freedom of expression. Sources in the FM revealed:

“The Turkish side strongly expressed Ankara’s disappointment and reaction over the obstruction of an elected president’s address via videoconference at such an inclusive demonstration. Ankara has emphasized that this approach that has been displayed by the offices of an ally of ours, which takes democracy and the rule of law as a basis, is unacceptable.”

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş pointed out that while German authorities quickly prevented Erdoğan from airing a speech that “The trial of the neo-Nazi NSU has been lingering on for many years without any conclusion.”3 In the view of Kurtulmuş “it is intriguing why they do not conclude other cases with similar haste. It is definitely a fine demonstration of double standards.” Zafer Sirakaya, one of the organizers of the demonstration, stated “There is no acceptability to this ruling from a legal perspective. It is extremely clear that this is a political decision.”4

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was “Concerned by news from Europe against freedom of expression & assembly. Such a cannot have any explanation.”5 One AKP official even went so far as to claim “Germany has shown its support for the putschists with this attitude.

What is most interesting to me in this international spat is that Erdoğan is complaining about the curtailing of his freedom of speech in Germany–a country that he is not a citizen of–while he himself has attempted to curtail the freedom of speech of Germans who have insulted him in their own country. There are a few examples I am sure everyone will remember.6

First there was the airing of the anti-Erdoğan song, “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan,” by NDR, which prompted Turkey’s FM to demand “that the broadcast is removed from the air.” Next was the recital of a rather scurrilous and vulgar anti-Erdoğan poem by the comedian Jan Böhmerman, who at the behest of Erdoğan was investigated by German authorities. Another person who read some lines from this poem during a public demonstration, the leader of the Pirate Party Bruno Kramm, was arrested by German police for such an act.

It seems that Erdoğan has no problem to demand the limiting and punishing of the free speech of these German individuals and organizations when he finds the speech in question insulting to himself, yet when it is his speech that is restricted, whether rightly or wrongly, then this is an “unacceptable” turn of events. This is just another example of Erdoğan’s hypocrisy.

O Mouggos

References

[1] http://en.alalam.ir/news/1845272

[2] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-lashes-out-at-germany-over-ban-on-erdogans-videoconference-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102294&NewsCatID=510 , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-speech-ban-sparks-fresh-turkey-germany-row.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102323&NewsCatID=510 , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-berlins-ban-on-erdogans-videoconference-at-cologne-rally-unacceptable.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102367&NewsCatID=510

[3] http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2016/08/01/deputy-pm-slams-germany-for-double-standards-on-free-speech

[4] http://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/german-court-bans-erdogan-video-call-to-anti-coup-rally-2502191

[5] http://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2016/07/31/german-court-bans-erdogans-address-concerns-raised-about-freedom-of-expression

[6] see my posts, Is it illegal to insult Turkish President Erdogan even in Germany?Insulting Erdogan is still verboten

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