Opposition deputy criticises Germany for cancelling Turkish minister’s meeting

HDP spokesperson Osman Baydemir

Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson, Osman Baydemir, has criticised German authorities for cancelling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Minister Bekir Bozdag’s meeting to promote the constitutional referendum campaign.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Baydemir said politicians needed to be able to express themselves everywhere “without facing preventions, bans or being marginalised.”

Baydemir also criticised the political crackdown in Turkey and referring to AKP officials criticism of German authorities, said, “If you do not afford this [freedom] to your own people your criticisms will not be taken seriously.”

“I hope my statements contribute for empathising for others. Please, don’t use this as propaganda material for the referendum. This won’t help anyone,” he added.

In response to a reporter’s question on his party’s ‘no’ campaign in the referendum, the HDP spokesperson said voting against the reform meant the possibility of making a fresh start in Turkey. “This is why the HDP is saying ‘no’. Otherwise, there is no turning back if ‘yes’ wins at the referendum.”

Dutch authorities have also declared Turkish officials will not be welcome in the Netherlands in the run-up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum. Ankara’s anti-western rhetoric and crackdown on political parties, the media and civil society following last July’s coup attempt is seen as the reason behind the tensions.

The pro-minority rights left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has had at least nine thousand of its members detained and 2,500 arrested including the party’s co-leader and 10 other lawmakers.