German politician Özdemir given police protection at MSC | News | DW | 18.02.2018
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German politician Özdemir given police protection at MSC

Cem Özdemir, a vocal critic of the Turkish government, was given a police bodyguard after meeting Ankara's delegation to the MSC, a media report says. He said the delegates showed that "they were not pleased" to see him.

German Green politician Cem Özdemir was put under temporary police protection at the Munich Security Conference after he met with the Turkish delegation in the lobby of his hotel, a newspaper report said on Sunday.

The Welt am Sonntag quoted Özdemir, who is very unpopular with the Ankara regime, as saying that he bumped into Turkish delegates by chance in the lobby of the hotel where both he and the delegation, led by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, were staying.

"I could see by their expressions that they were not pleased to see me," Özdemir said.

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The newspaper reported that the delegation had complained to police after the meeting that there was obviously a "terrorist" staying in the hotel. Özdemir was then given a security detail consisting of three police officers from Saturday morning.

Özdemir, the son of Turkish immigrants to Germany, said the incident confirmed his assessment of the "character of the regime in Ankara" and gave "an indication of the kind of aggression probably practiced by this 'unsecurity personnel' in Turkey, if they behave like this in Germany."

Read more: No place for Turkish 'climate of fear' in Germany says Green's Cem Özdemir

Outspoken critic

The politician has often vehemently criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and said that Turkey could not become a member of the European Union under Erdogan's leadership.

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During the recent failed coalition negotiations in Germany between the Greens, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Free Democrats (FDP), he was mooted as a potential foreign minister.

Last year, US justice officials issued arrest warrants for some of Erdogan's bodyguards after they were accused of using force against protesters while the Turkish president was on a visit to Washington in May. The German government later expressed the firm wish that the bodyguards in question should not be present at the G20 summit in Hamburg last July.

Turkish bodyguards attacking protesters (picture alliance/AP Photo/Voice of America)

Erdogan's bodyguards attacked peaceful protesters in Washington

Germany's ties with Turkey have been strained in recent times. The year-long imprisonment of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, who was finally freed on Friday, was one major issue behind the tensions.

Berlin has also been critical of Turkey's crackdown on dissent following a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

tj/ng (Reuters, AFP)

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