COLOGNE. The visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Cologne on Saturday will mean reduced maneuverability for the public. Police are still in talks with those who have registered counter-demonstrations.
Preparations for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Cologne this coming Saturday are in full swing. But much is still unclear, as a spokesman for the Cologne police said on Tuesday, because they are still waiting for detailed information about the visit. At the moment, they can only develop different scenarios and make their plans based on these. On Thursday, police are expected to announce more details at a press conference.
No-fly zone over Cologne
This much is already clear: Between 12 and 10pm, there will be a no-fly zone within a radius of 60 kilometers around Cologne. This means that no private jets, drones, balloons or model airplanes may be operated during this time. An intrusion into the no-fly zone could constitute a criminal offense, said the police spokesman. Exempted from this ban is commercial air traffic so Cologne-Bonn Airport and Düsseldorf Airport are not affected.
Erdogan’s route is not yet clear
Some things are still not clear, such as the route that Erdogan will take through Cologne. This of course will have an impact on police deployment plans. There is still a lack of information from higher authorities and the Turkish government as to exact plans. Currently, the police are planning to be able to respond to all scenarios.
Police Chief Uwe Jacob said that his department had concrete ideas about how to handle the difficult balancing act of “protecting the state guest and registered demonstrations without restricting public life for Cologne citizens more than absolutely necessary.” But of course more clarity is needed so police can eliminate some alternative concepts from their planning.
Considerable restrictions in the inner city
Either way, there will be considerable restrictions for people in Cologne on Saturday with many roads closed and some stores having to close as well. Police expect traffic disruptions in the city and from noon on the autobahn around the area will experience temporary but full closures as well. Passenger boats on the Rhine will also be affected.
Opening ceremony at Cologne Central Mosque
The opening ceremony of the Cologne Central Mosque with the Turkish president is scheduled to begin on Saturday at 2 pm. This was announced by the German-Turkish mosque association Ditib on its Facebook page. Invited are "all our German and Turkish friends". The message continues: "The opening ceremony should be a beautiful and living example for peace, partnership and living together." Attendees are asked to bring only German, Turkish and Ditib flags.
Counter-demonstrations announced in Cologne
Some counter-demonstrations have already been announced for Saturday, which will also have a major impact on city traffic throughout the day. According to the Cologne police chief, they are still in talks with those who have registered for the counter-demonstrations.
(Orig. text: Moritz Rosenkranz, Translation: ck)