Turkey says campaigning in Europe is democratic right

AP News
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Posted: Feb 27, 2017 1:18 PM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's deputy prime minister says it is the democratic right of Turkish leaders to stage campaign rallies in European countries in advance of a national referendum.

The April 16 vote is on on shifting to a presidential system, which critics fear will concentrate too many powers in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has already campaigned for a "yes" vote in Germany and said Erdogan also would address Turkish citizens in Europe.

In a response to criticism from Austria, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said after a Cabinet meeting that the Turkish leaders would not be interfering in elections in that country.

He added: "both the 'yes' and 'no' camps will campaign. To hinder that. would amount to misinterpreting democracy."