Turkish president's Berlin speech delayed by bomb threat

19th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Monday was forced to delay a planned speech at Berlin's Humboldt university after a bomb threat, police said.

Gul, who on Monday met his German counterpart Christian Wulff and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, was invited to speak at a university hall in central Berlin late Monday.

But the hall was evacuated shortly before his arrival after an anonymous phone call warning of a bomb threat, police said.

No explosive device was found, and Gul delivered his speech after the hall was searched, the university said.

Gul, who arrived in Germany on Sunday, will leave the country on Wednesday, a day after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Turkey's European Union membership process, latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa as well as bilateral ties figure high on his agenda.

Germany is home to 2.5 million Turks. The community is frequently accused of having a poor integration record, despite having settled in the country decades ago.

Gul's visit comes on the 50th anniversary of an agreement that opened the way for mass immigration of Turkish workers, mostly from rural areas, to meet the additional labour demand during the economic restructuring of Germany.

Gul was also expected to visit the Institute of Islamic Theology at the University of Osnabrueck in the German president's hometown.

Turkish-German relations have been marred by Germany's refusal, together with France, to allow Turkey's full EU membership. Ankara began accession negotiations with the EU in October 2005.

© 2011 AFP

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