Turkish PM Yildirim speaks in Germany amid protests

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

On Saturday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim went to the west German city of Oberhausen, a city with a significant Turkish population. Yildirim promoted his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ‘yes’ campaign for the upcoming referendum on constitutional reform.

PM Yildirim had originally gone to Germany to attend the 53rd Munich Security Conference and passed over to Oberhausen to launch his party’s referendum campaign in Europe. Over a thousand people from various organisations like the German left-wing organisation, Die Linke, Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the European ‘No’ Platform protested the Turkish presidents arrival in Oberhausen.

German media was critical of Yildirim’s arrival in Germany, emphasising the German journalist Deniz Yucel’s imprisonment in Turkey. The foreign policy specialist of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Rolf Mutzenich, said that they are concerned for the German daily Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel who was arrested in Turkey a few days ago.

The Green Party Co-leader Cem Ozdemir and the organisation Reporters Without Borders also reacted critically to Yucel’s detention.

The German weekly magazine, Der Spiegel, reported that the Green Party member of the Bundestag, Volker Beck, called for a criminal investigation of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Saturday.

Last week, several imams from the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) were suspected of spying on alleged supporters of the Gulenist movement in Germany on behalf of the Turkish government.

Beck stated that Turkey’s Diyanet Office for Religious Affairs is directly under the authority of the government. In a letter Beck wrote to the general prosecutor of Karlsruhe as well as to the Duisburg prosecutor’s office and the police in Oberhausen, Beck argued, “the Turkish prime minister was liable for their activities and should be tried”.