Berlin plays down Turkey's decision to call German diplomat

A policeman stands guard after troops involved in the coup surrendered at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey.? Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Berlin, Germany Aug 01, 2016, 01.03 PM (IST)
Berlin played down Turkey's decision to call in a high-ranking German diplomat today amid tensions over a rally in Cologne, saying such "invitations" were nothing extraordinary.

"In the day-to-day dealings between countries, it is a daily event, normal for a representative of a country to be called into the foreign ministry of his host country," Martin Schaefer, spokesman for the German foreign ministry told journalists.

"That happens in Turkey... That happens too in Berlin. Therefore that is not unusual," he said, adding that the meeting had likely to do with Sunday's demonstration.

Tens of thousands of people had rallied in Cologne in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the failed coup on July 15.

But Ankara was angered by a German court's decision to ban the demonstration's organisers from screening live speeches from Turkey by politicians.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin called the ban unacceptable and a "violation of the freedom of expression and the right to free assembly".

Germany is home to three million ethnic Turks, making up Turkey's largest diaspora, and tensions over the coup have put authorities there on the edge.