Swiss say no reason to block Turkish foreign minister's speech

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the International Tourism Trade Fair ITB in Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland declined on Thursday to block the Turkish foreign minister from speaking in Zurich this weekend after concluding there was no extraordinary threat level that would justify curbs on freedom of speech, the foreign ministry (EDA) said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is due to speak on Sunday, although the Zurich-area hotel where he had planned to appear cancelled the event at its facility.

"The Swiss federal government authorities responsible for security matters are of the opinion that Sunday's planned visit of the Turkish foreign minister in Zurich does not at the moment pose an elevated threat to internal security," the EDA said. "Consequently, there are no reasons to forbid the visit."

Zurich officials who had asked for a ban said they were disappointed but would do their best to preserve order given massive counterdemonstrations they expected.

(Reporting by John Miller, Editing by Michael Shields)

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