COLOGNE/ ANKARA - Turkey has summoned Germany's ambassador after more than 10,000 Kurds rallied in Cologne. The rally was in support of Kurdish independence as well as the jailed leader of the banned PKK.
Turkey summoned the German ambassador to Ankara on Saturday over what it said was a Kurdish militant rally in Cologne, the foreign ministry said, in a further sign of strained relations between the NATO allies.
“We condemn the organization of a rally in the German city of Cologne by the extensions of the PKK terrorist organizations, and the allowing of terror propaganda. We have voiced our reaction in a strong manner to Germany’s ambassador to Ankara, who was called to the ministry,” it said.
Kurdish demonstrators called for freedom for Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), independence for Kurdistan, and democracy for the Middle East, local paper Kölner Stadt Anzeiger reported.
They had gathered at what was ostensibly a cultural festival organized by the Democratic Social Center for Kurds in Germany.
"We are protesting and celebrating at the same time - that is our culture," attendee Rifat Arslan told the paper, after traveling there from Frankfurt with his family. "We demand a recognized and free Kurdistan and want the release of our leader Ocalan," he was quoted as saying.
The PKK is classified as terrorist organization by Turkey, Germany and the European Union.
Turkey accused Germany of not doing enough to stop PKK activities.
Turkey has accused Germany of not doing enough to stop PKK activities.
“The double standard approach Germany has been following with regards to the global fight against terrorism is worrying. We call on Germany to show a principled stance against all kinds of terror,” the ministry said.
Relations with Europe, particularly Germany, have been strained since President Tayyip Erdogan launched a crackdown after a failed coup last year.
More than 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 people, including journalists and opposition figures, have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.
Germany has criticized the mass arrests, refused to extradite people Turkey says were involved in the putsch attempt and demanded the release of around a dozen German citizens arrested in recent months.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Robin Pomeroy