The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is all set to open one of the Largest Europe Mosques in Cologne on Saturday as he wraps up his controversial visit to Germany with police deploying in the force and amid planned protests.
The inauguration of mosque will also be the closing event for Erdogan’s three day visit in Germany. It was aimed to repair the frayed ties in Berlin after two long years of tensions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, signalled in their interest in a very cautious rapprochement. Merkel also stressed on “deep differences” that remains on civil rights and other issues.
There are some 10,000 Erdogan critics who are expected to take the streets in Cologne and protesting on everything from Turkey’s record on the human rights and press freedom for the treatment of minority Kurds.
Supports will also gather around at the Cologne Central Mosque with an imposing domed shaped building that is next to shadowy, Turkish controlled Ditib organisation.
Cologne police said that they were ready and bracing themselves for the biggest ever deployments that would have maximum of 5,000 people who would be allowed in attending the opening ceremony for safety reasons.
On its Facebook page, the Cologne branch of Ditib said that it wanted the ceremony to be a “beautiful” example for both the communities and come together for asking attendees in refrain of bringing political banners or shouting slogans.
Both mayor of Cologne Henriette Reker and the state’s premier Armin Laschet are pulld out of attending the opening as the criticism of Erdogan’s visit grew.
The snubs also echoed a lukewarm welcome to the Turkish leader when received in the previous evening at a state dinner that was hosted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. It was also a boycott of several opposition politicians.
Hannah Weber is a seasoned journalist with nearly 10 years experience. While studying journalism at FernUniversität Hagen, Hannah found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to Deutch News, Hannah mostly covers human interest pieces.