The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the Swiss ambassador to Ankara over a protest in Bern targeting Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The protest had Kurdish groups among its organizers.
The ambassador, Walter Haffner, was told that Turkey expects the Swiss authorities to bring the organizers of the protest to justice and to prevent such “incidents” in the future.
“We are protesting this rally that explicitly promoted violence and terrorism and has been permitted, and we ask Switzerland to take immediate legal action against this offense,” the ministry said in a statement late March 25, as cited by the Turkey’s Hurriyet daily.
The demonstration, which was held on Saturday in central Bern, was attended by some 3,000-3,500 people, the Swiss media report, citing the event’s organizers. The protesters marched through the city center and then held a rally in front of the federal parliament building.
They were chanting anti-Erdogan slogans and were holding numerous placards that read, “For Democracy in Turkey.” They also expressed their opposition to the constitutional changes advocated by Erdogan ahead of the April referendum.
The Turkish authorities insist that the rally held in front of the Swiss Federal Parliament building in the city Bern was organized by the members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).
According to the Swiss media, the rally was organized and supported by more than 30 various organizations, including the Swiss Social Democratic Party and the Green Party, as well as some Kurdish groups.
Some demonstrators were indeed holding the PPK flags as well as flags and placards featuring the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan.
The PKK, which was designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, is not on the list of terrorist organizations in Switzerland.