German hall where Turkish minister due to speak has shut: municipality

BERLIN (Reuters) - A center in Hamburg where Turkey’s foreign minister was due to address a rally on Tuesday has been shut, a municipal spokeswoman said, but Turkish diplomatic sources said there were no cancellations and the minister would still travel to Germany.

The confusion came amid an escalating diplomatic dispute between Berlin and Ankara over political rallies Turkey is organizing in Germany aimed at ethnic Turkish voters ahead of an April 16 constitutional referendum on boosting Erdogan’s powers.

The cancellation of several such rallies in the past week prompted Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday to complain of “fascist actions” reminiscent of the Nazi era, drawing an angry rebuke from German politicians.

A municipal spokeswoman in Hamburg said the event center where Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was due to urge Turkish voters to back Erdogan’s constitutional overhaul had been closed because it lacks a fire detection system.

One Turkish diplomatic source said the meeting would now be held at a different venue in Hamburg.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Humeyra Pamuk in Istanbul and Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Gareth Jones