European cities scramble to stop Turkish referendum rallies | Reuters

By Thomas Escritt and Shadia Nasralla | ROTTERDAM/VIENNA ROTTERDAM/VIENNA Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will not be allowed to campaign for votes among expat Turks during a visit to Rotterdam on Saturday, the mayor of the Dutch port said, joining a growing list of European cities that have blocked such rallies.'He has diplomatic immunity and everything so we will treat him with respect, but we have other instruments to prohibit things happening in public spaces,' Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told reporters.Four planned Turkish political meetings in Austria and one in Switzerland were also cancelled, in the latest signs of unease across Europe over Turkey's efforts to rally support for President Tayyip Erdogan in the run-up to an April 16 referendum on granting him extensive new powers.Relations between Turkey and the European Union have deteriorated in recent months, with Erdogan bristling at criticism from EU members for waging a mass crackdown on opponents since he saw off a coup attempt last July.The row over campaigning among the large Turkish communities in Europe has exacerbated tensions. Erdogan has compared the cancellation of rallies in Germany with Nazi-era fascist tactics; Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that such comments were 'unworthy' and must stop. Having survived the July coup, Erdogan says the referendum is needed to guarantee stability.

Reuters March 11, 2017 03:16:33 IST
European cities scramble to stop Turkish referendum rallies
| Reuters

European cities scramble to stop Turkish referendum rallies
 Reuters

By Thomas Escritt and Shadia Nasralla
| ROTTERDAM/VIENNA

ROTTERDAM/VIENNA Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will not be allowed to campaign for votes among expat Turks during a visit to Rotterdam on Saturday, the mayor of the Dutch port said, joining a growing list of European cities that have blocked such rallies."He has diplomatic immunity and everything so we will treat him with respect, but we have other instruments to prohibit things happening in public spaces," Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told reporters.Four planned Turkish political meetings in Austria and one in Switzerland were also cancelled, in the latest signs of unease across Europe over Turkey's efforts to rally support for President Tayyip Erdogan in the run-up to an April 16 referendum on granting him extensive new powers.Relations between Turkey and the European Union have deteriorated in recent months, with Erdogan bristling at criticism from EU members for waging a mass crackdown on opponents since he saw off a coup attempt last July.The row over campaigning among the large Turkish communities in Europe has exacerbated tensions. Erdogan has compared the cancellation of rallies in Germany with Nazi-era fascist tactics; Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that such comments were 'unworthy' and must stop.

Having survived the July coup, Erdogan says the referendum is needed to guarantee stability. European politicians accuse him of using the failed putsch as a pretext for mass arrests and dismissals that stifle dissent.The proposed constitutional changes to greatly strengthen his powers would be a "dangerous step backwards" for democracy, a panel of legal experts at the Council of Europe said on Friday.It said the amendments would give the president "the power to dissolve parliament on any grounds whatsoever, which is fundamentally alien to democratic presidential systems".

The legal opinion has no binding power over Turkey, which joined the 47-nation Council of Europe in 1950.SECURITY RISKS
Swiss police cited "significant security risks" for their decision to cancel a speech by a Turkish politician on Friday evening.

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu is still looking for a new venue for an event on Sunday after one hotel near Zurich pulled out on security grounds and an alternative, in the city of Winterthur, was rejected as inappropriate.A call by Zurich's security chief for Cavusoglu to be barred from speaking there has been rejected by the Swiss government.The Austrian town of Hoerbranz cancelled an event with a former Turkish minister because the organisers had falsely labelled it as a book presentation. Other events were scrapped in Linz, Herzogenburg and Wiener Neustadt.Austria's interior minister said on Tuesday he wanted to change the law to permit a ban on foreign officials making speeches in the country if human rights or public order are threatened, but the bill has not reached parliament yet.[nL5N1GK18Z] (Additional reporting by John Miller in Zurich and Julia Fioretti in Brussels; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.