Turkey uncomfortable at German interference in polls

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    The Turkish deputy prime minister on Monday expressed discomfort over Germany’s interference in early elections slated for June 24, criticizing it for allowing a pro-PKK rally.

    “Turkish people feel uncomfortable over the meddling in domestic affairs, interference in elections, and an interventionist attitude. So do we,” Bekir Bozdag, who is also the government spokesperson, told reporters in central Yozgat province.

    “I say, let’s use the ballot to give the biggest response to Germany. With a comeback which will please Turkey and upset Germany on June 24, all their anti-Turkey efforts will go down the drain,” he said.

    His remarks came after Turkey's opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which the government accuses of being a political front for PKK, held a rally in German city of Cologne on Saturday.

    Almost a thousand PKK supporters gathered in Neumarkt square, a spokesman for the German police told Anadolu Agency.

    In April, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had said that his country would not allow Turkish politicians to carry out election campaign rallies.

    Bozdag said this attitude is a sign of German government’s interference in elections in Turkey.

    The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it remains active, with nearly 14,000 followers in the country.

    Ankara has long criticized Berlin for not taking serious measures against the PKK, which uses the country as a platform for their fundraising, recruitment, and propaganda activities.

    Separately, Bozdag criticized Ataturkist Thought Association (ADD) over its remarks on Twitter, saying it is a disrespect to the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

    On Sunday, ADD posted a tweet to mark the 58th anniversary of the 1960 coup in Turkey, saying: “Half a century ago, Turkish Armed Forces used its right to resist against a political power that transgressed the constitution and the law, and seized power. The army got the nation’s support."

    Stating that the group was against the principles laid down by Ataturk, Bozdag said: “ADD revealed that it has a putchist mentality when it supported a coup and the coup plotters.”

    Later on Monday, the chief public prosecutor’s office in capital Ankara launched an investigation against the association over its eulogizing tweet for the military coup.

    The association was accused of praising the crime and culprits, the prosecution said in a statement.

    On May 27, 1960, a group of Turkish military officers organized a coup, taking charge of key military and civilian installations. The chain of command was ignored as both the Turkish army chief and civilian leaders were arrested.

    The 1960 coup marks a dark era in Turkish history, as then-Prime Minister Adnan Menderes won over 50 percent of the vote in the 1957 general elections before he was overthrown and later executed along with then Foreign Minister Fatin Rustu Zorlu and Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan.

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