Some European countries are taking decisions that have nothing to do with freedom of thought or expression as Turkey prepares for the upcoming referendum in April.
The Netherlands, Austria and Germany are some of the Western countries that have canceled meetings of some Turkish ministers and politicians, which they planned as part of their Yes campaigns ahead of the referendum in Turkey. This attitude of western European countries opposes its own principles of democracy and freedom of expression. While Austria offered to impose Europe-wide ban to Yes campaigners, Turkish opposition backing the No vote were able to carry out their rallies in the European countries without any hindrances. This shows that some European countries and governments are publicly supporting the No vote in the referendum that would change the Turkish constitution and its system of governance. On Feb. 24, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) organized a joint meeting in Berlin; however, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party was prevented from addressing the Turkish community in Germany’s western Gaggenau city on March 2. Following the first ban in Germany, local authorities also cancelled Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci’s meeting on March 5 in Cologne. German authorities also cancelled rallies of former energy minister Taner Yildiz on March 6 and March 7 in Grosskrotzenburg and Nurnberg, respectively; he was eventually able to address the Turkish community in Frankfurt’s Kelsterbach district.—Agencies