A rally of 30,000 people from Kurdish communities across Germany has been organized in Cologne to protest the policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and to call for an end to attacks in Syria.
Under the banner “Against Dictatorship and For Equality” a number of Kurdish organizations have organized a rally Saturday in the western German city of Cologne.
Groups including the Democratic Social Center of Kurdish people in Germany” (Nav-Dem) have condemned what they called Erdogan’s “dictatorial approach” in Turkey following the failed coup attempt in July.
Police were out in force in Cologne to monitor the rally and announced they would intervene to prevent what they called “illegal propaganda.” By mid-day a police spokesman said the situation remained calm.
Rally participants also oppose the state of emergency imposed in Turkey following the failed July 15 coup and the arrests of tens of thousands of people suspected of involvement.
They also condemned the Turkish army attacks on Kurdish militia in Syria.
A number of people carried banners with the portrait of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). The European Union and the United States both regard the PKK as a terrorist organization. It has been banned in Germany since 1993.
Leader of the Left party, Bernd Riexinger, is due to address the rally. He again called for the lifting of the PKK ban. He said the “complete isolation” of Ocalan was not correct. He said the leader should instead be involved in negotiations between Kurdish groups and the Turkish government to bring about a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict.
jm/sms (epd, dpa)