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What I would like to know though is whether there is historical precedence for foreign heads of state to address followers in other countries.

In the case of the Netherlands and Germany they refused the request due to security reasons, and in the case of the Netherlands they ended up with a minor riot as a direct consequence.

Have something like this happened in the past. And is Turkey right in claiming this is a breach of international law?

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    Its definitely not a breach of international law. The Netherlands and Germany are sovereign nations with their own borders. They have the right to control them as they see fit. Even France closed its borders once (after the Paris attacks) despite being in the Schengen zone – David Grinberg Mar 12 '17 at 14:51
  • The incident didn't involve a head of state, which would have been the President of Turkey. – Sjoerd Mar 13 '17 at 7:19
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    Hardly 'unprecedented'. The world, in particular Europe, has seen far worse and wide-ranging rhetoric. – Venture2099 Mar 13 '17 at 10:05
  • @Venture2099 Yeah but I was referring to Turkish rhetoric. – dan-klasson Mar 13 '17 at 13:46
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There is historical precedence - for example Recep Erdogan addressed followers in 2014 in Cologone/Germany.

The difference is that this was part of a state visit and he spoke with permission of the German government.

The German "Bundesverfassungsgericht" refused to grant a temporary injunction (if that is the right word) to allow Erdogans planned 2017 speech - mainly because the applicant (not Erdogan) could not prove that his own rights were infringed (so he was not entitled to an injunction).

However in the the full statement of the court, which is not yet public, the judges pointed out that Erdogan does not enjoy a fundamental right of free speech, since fundamental rights do only apply to persons, and Erdogan represents the Turkish state (the point of fundamental rights is to protect people against the state, so states themselves cannot have fundamental rights).

Turkey claims a breach of international law, specifically the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, since it is the job of the diplomatic staff to "protect the interests of their country" (extremely rough translation of a passage in this article of "Der Spiegel"), and apparently they think this includes soliciting votes for their referendum (which is not a completely crazy notion since this a major policy issue for Turkish citizens).

If Turkey wants to go through with this claim this will have to be decided by the International Court of Justice, so your question is as of yet not answerable, but their argument seems a little flimsy.

  • Isn't that a very weak and questionable argument of the Bundesverfassungsgericht? Erdogan could speak as a private person. He is a politician and a representative for a political party in an election campaign. Arguing that a prime minister or president doesn't have freedom of speech, well that doesn't compute. – LocalFluff Mar 14 '17 at 13:36
  • @LocalFluff, this was about a specific case, i.e. did some local authority (as the German government so far has no fixed policy on this and defers to decisions of local authorities) violate the fundamental rights of the Turkish president by preventing him from speaking. This is not an opinion on public speeches by Turkish citizens in general, so private citizen Erdogan would be a different matter (if he could convince anybody that he is indeed acting as a private person, which right now might be difficult). – user10415 Mar 14 '17 at 18:58
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So the latest row between Turkey, Germany and Netherlands are most likely unprecedented. Where Turkey accused Netherlands and German of being fascists and Nazis.

Turkey calling other nations all kind of names hardly is unprecedented.

What I would like to know though is whether there is historical precedence for foreign heads of state to address followers in other countries.

What happened is that a minister with her guards in an armored car entered the Netherlands without permission. Several columns entered the Netherlands, with the intention to mislead the dutch authorities in which car the minister was located.

Armed people in an armored vehicle entering a country without permission falls under the definition of "invasion." It might be a small scale invasion, but it still is a hostile act.

It's certainly within any country's right to stop an invasion.

Have something like this happened in the past.

There have been many invasions headed by kings, princes, or other high officials throughout history.

In the case of the Netherlands and Germany they refused the request due to security reasons, and in the case of the Netherlands they ended up with a minor riot as a direct consequence.

Which proves that those concerns were valid.

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    "There have been many invasions headed by kings, princes, or other high officials throughout history." LOL – dan-klasson Mar 13 '17 at 10:03

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