18:34 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hold Turkish flags during a pro-government protest in Cologne, Germany

    Turkish Ruling Party Cancels Constitutional Referendum Rallies in Germany

    © REUTERS / Thilo Schmuelgen
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    Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) canceled all its upcoming rallies aimed at gaining support among Turkish communities for the referendum on constitutional amendments, which were to be held in Germany in the light of Berlin's strong opposition, local media reported Tuesday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — All 15 rallies and events in Germany, at which Turkish lawmakers and high-ranking representatives from the AKP were scheduled to speak as part of the country's campaign for a referendum on the enhancement of the judiciary and legislative powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were canceled, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported, citing a coordination bureau of the AKP in Cologne.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a ceremony in Eskisehir, Turkey, March 17, 2017
    © REUTERS / Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace
    The majority of events were expected to take place in Berlin, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Munich, as well as on the territory of the North Rhine-Westphalia state.

    Relations between Berlin and Ankara took a hit after the February arrest of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yucel in Istanbul on suspicion of participation in a terror organization, and further deteriorated after Erdogan, when criticizing Berlin for banning Ankara’s campaign rallies on German soil, drew parallels between German authorities and Nazis.

    In January, the Turkish parliament approved a number of constitutional amendments that would boost presidential powers, including granting the president the ability to appoint a number of top judges and declare a state of emergency. The decision was criticized by opposition parties as a power grab attempt by the president. The Turkish referendum on constitutional changes will take place on April 16.

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    constitution referendum, rally, Justice and Development Party (AKP), Germany, Turkey
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