German Justice Minister raises alarm on hate speech in AKP’s election campaign in Germany
Justice Minister of Germany, Marco Buschmann, has reportedly sent a letter to Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, raising concerns about hate speech in the election campaigns of Turkey's ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) in Germany.
With the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey on May 14, Buschmann emphasized in his letter the importance of taking measures against campaign activities that involve hate speech, Germany’s Rheinische Post newspaper reported on Thursday.
According to Rheinische Post, Buschmann's letter stated, "Considering the upcoming elections, it is expected that supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will conduct a stronger election campaign in Germany as well in the coming weeks. We must take into account the dissemination of messages containing hate speech that undermine human dignity within the framework of campaign activities."
The letter comes in the wake of a recent incident where an AKP deputy’s threatening language was interpreted as hate speech in Germany, triggering condemnation and summoning of Turkey's Ambassador to Berlin.
On January 13, AKP deputy Mustafa Acikgoz in the city of Neuss addressed a Turkish gathering and said, "We will find and eliminate them from the holes they hide in," referring to members of the PKK and the Gulen movement.
In his letter, Justice Minister Buschmann stated, "The incidents that have occurred indicate that some Turkish officials will consciously use language that undermines human dignity in their campaign activities against political rivals. This is unacceptable in any way and a clear violation of freedom of thought."
Buschmann emphasized in his letter to the interior and foreign ministers that the obligation for foreign officials to obtain permission for campaign activities within the framework of assembly law should be carefully applied and the rules should be clearly reminded to Turkey, if necessary, once again. He also called for sensitivity on the issue of assembly law in the relevant authorities in the states.
With the regulation that came into effect in Germany in 2017, officials from countries outside the EU are required to obtain permission from the German government for official election campaign activities targeting German citizens. During the three-month period before elections, however, campaign activities are not allowed.