At mosque opening in Germany, city mayor won’t be there

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan helps formally open a new mosque in Koln, Germany Saturday, the city’s mayor will not be attending.

Henriette Reker, the mayor of Köln, says with three days left, Turkish event organizers are yet to finalize the program plans and schedule. 

Run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, an arm of Turkey’s Diyanet, planning for the Köln mosque began in 2009 and opened for service in 2017. An opening ceremony will take place during Erdogan’s state visit to Germany. Five thousand people are expected to attend, DW reported

Reker says she is disappointed the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs did not make clear who they wanted to represent the Köln municipality at the ceremony. The mayor had previously indicated she wanted to speak at the event. She said she “also sees herself as the mayor of Muslim Köln residents,” DW reported. The president of the surrounding North Rhine-Westphalia state will also not attend. 

Erdogan on Thursday landed in Berlin, where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Angela Merkel and speak to the Turkish business community before departing on Saturday.