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Turkey-German Relations: German lawmakers slam Turkish foreign minister′s Solingen trip

Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu is planning to join the commemoration ceremony for a racially-motivated attack 25 years ago in Solingen. German politicians warn the appearance could be used as a campaign event.

No other foreign official has had German politicians across party lines rushing to find a microphone like Mevlut Cavusoglu. The Turkish foreign minister caused a stir this week after he announced plans to travel to Solingen next month to commemorate the five Turkish victims of a 1993 racially-motivated firebomb attack in the western German town.

"Solingen has a dignified, reflective commemoration planned for May 29," said Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesman for the conservative faction of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), along with their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). "It would be very unfortunate if the event were overshadowed and the peace disturbed by Turkish domestic disputes."

He warned that Cavusoglu's planned attendance could be viewed as promotion for Turkey's upcoming snap elections. Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced he was bringing forward a presidential vote by a year-and-a-half, from November 2019 to June 24, 2018.

"There is no room for Turkey's election campaign in Solingen on May 29," Hardt said.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) said that Turkey and Germany can work side-by-side to combat racism and commemorate events like the Solingen attack, but that cooperation stopped at election promotion. "The German government needs to take a clear stance," he told DW. "There can be no Turkish election campaign on German territory."

Read more: German lawmakers slam Turkish foreign minister′s Solingen trip | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.04.2018

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