Erdoğan arrives in Cologne for opening ceremony of new mosque - live blog
Update: Following a breakfast meeting with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has arrived in Cologne to attend inauguration of the city's Central Mosque.
Protestors in the German city of Cologne are looking to defy a ban in allowing thousands of supporters in front a mosque set to be opened by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan on Saturday, BBC Turkish reported.
Erdoğan, on a three-day state visit of Germany, arrived in Cologne to partake in a ceremony for the new central mosque of Ditib, Germany's largest mosque association.
Close to 25,000 people from Germany’s over 3 million Turkish community were expected to show up in support.
Three-thousand police are on site for the opening.
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker announced the ban in a press conference on Friday evening where she said it was very regrettable, noting, "Safety is our top priority."
German authorities feared danger at the rally after what they say is the organizers’ failure in presenting an adequate security plan for the event.
"My request: The Turkish television broadcasts live. Please watch the ceremony at home on the couch – you'll see more than you do on the ground!" Cologne police chief Uwe Jacob said.
Run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, an arm of Turkey’s Diyanet, planning for the Cologne mosque began in 2009 and opened for service in 2017.
The Cologne mayor has previously shared her disappointment the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs did not make clear who they wanted to represent the Köln municipality at the ceremony.
The decision by Reker has caused backlash by the country's Turkish community.
Pro-government Sabah daily columnist Hilal Kaplan took to Twitter saying that 10,000 people are expected to show up to protest the decision.
Öğleden sonra Köln’deki DİTİB Merkez Camii açılış töreninde 10.000 kişinin protesto etmesi bekleniyormuş.— Hilâl Kaplan (@hilal_kaplan) September 29, 2018
Köln Belediyesi ise camii açılışına gelmek isteyenlerin geri çevirileceğini dün açıkladı! Halk gelecek, biz de yoldayız.
CB Erdoğan’ın ambargo sonrası ilk konuşması olacak
Other Twitter users shared videos of police preventing protesters from entering the site.