France blasted for allowing Turkish leader Erdogan's right-hand man to campaign in Metz

France blasted for allowing Mevlut Cavusoglu to campaign in Metz for Turkish election

The government has defended its decision, saying there was no reason to ban the rally

Monday, March 13, 2017

The government of France has come under fire for authorising a high-profile Turkish minister to campaign in the northeastern city of Metz for the upcoming election. 

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was permitted to speak at a rally in favour of changing the Turkish political system and granting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers.

The decision comes amidst growing tension between Turkey and the Netherlands, inflamed by the latter's decision to ban Mr Cavusoglu from attending a rally in Rotterdam.

Mr Erdogan, who is intent on campaigning across Europe and securing support for his proposed reforms from the Turkish disapora, has likened the Dutch government to Nazis in the wake of the spat, echoing comments made about Germany after a series of rallies were cancelled for security reasons.

France's decision to grant permission to Cavusoglu to campaign in Metz prompted furious criticism from the three main 2017 Presidential candidates - Francois Fillon, Emmanuel Macron, and Marine Le Pen.

All three condemned the decision, with Macron insisting the government shouldn't accept "attacks against our democracy, allies, and values" in its sovereign territory."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault defended the decision, saying it wasn't France's place to ban the rally unless there had been a threat to public safety.