Bundesverfassungsgericht

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Constitutional Complaint Against Public Appearance of Turkish Prime Minister in Germany Unsuccessful

Press Release No. 16/2017 of 10 March 2017

Order of 08 March 2017
2 BvR 483/17

In an order published today, the Second Chamber of the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court did not admit for decision a constitutional complaint primarily directed against the public appearance of the Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim in the city of Oberhausen on 18 February 2017. This is notwithstanding the fact that neither the Constitution nor a general rule of international law confers a right of entry into the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany on heads of state and members of foreign governments; moreover, they are not entitled to invoke fundamental rights when acting in official capacity. However, the constitutional complaint is inadmissible already because the complainant has not sufficiently substantiated that he is individually affected [with regard to his fundamental rights].

Facts of the Case:

With his constitutional complaint, the complainant challenges what he regards as the German Federal Government having allowed the Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim to promote a proposed reform of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey [at a public event] in the city of Oberhausen on 18 February 2017; the complainant also challenges further public appearances of members of the Turkish Government regarding the envisaged constitutional reform. The complainant thereby aims to achieve that members of the Turkish Government, when acting in official capacity, are barred from engaging in political activities in Germany.

Key Consideration of the Chamber:

The constitutional complaint is inadmissible.

1. This is notwithstanding the fact that neither the German Constitution nor a general rule of international law confers on heads of states and members of foreign governments a right of entry into the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany or a right to exercise official functions in Germany. These activities require permission of the German Federal Government, which is competent to decide thereon under its responsibility for foreign policy. To the extent that foreign heads of state or members of foreign governments make public appearances while acting in official capacity or relying on governmental authority, they are not entitled to invoke fundamental rights. This is due to the fact that refusal of permission would not constitute a decision taken by German public authorities vis-à-vis a foreign citizen; rather, it would be a decision in the field of foreign policy, in which the German and the Turkish Government face each other on the basis of the principle of sovereign equality of states.

2. However, the complainant has not sufficiently substantiated that he is individually affected by any – unspecified – acts or omissions of the German Federal Government. Against this background, there is no subjective right on the part of the complainant to have the German Federal Government exercise its discretion in matters of foreign policy in a specific manner.