Amid tension between Germany and Turkey over a ban on referendum campaign rallies held by Turkish ministers, Ankara has condemned Berlin for allowing a march of Kurds sympathetic to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Frankfurt.
The Nevruz [spring festival] celebration, organized on Saturday by the German Democratic Kurdish Society Center with the slogan “No to dictatorship, yes to democracy and freedom” in Frankfurt, was attended by a crowd of more than 30,000, Deutsche Welle reported.
During the celebrations Kurds carried photos of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and symbols of the PKK, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People’s Defense Units (YPG).
“Claiming that a meeting of elected representatives of the Turkish nation with our citizens is dangerous but treating terrorists as legitimate actors is not explainable. They all clearly support terrorism,” said İbrahim Kalın, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a statement on Saturday.
More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.
Kalın also claimed that the Frankfurt march was further evidence of European efforts to interfere in an April 16 referendum in Turkey and support the “no” vote.
Turkish politicians have been traveling to Europe to campaign among expatriates for the referendum, which will greatly expand President Erdoğan’s powers.
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium have recently cancelled rallies, leading to crises between Turkey and European countries.
Three more events featuring ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Mehdi Eker in Germany were cancelled on Saturday.
The campaign events of Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu were cancelled in Germany for similar reasons.
Millions of Turkish citizens who are eligible to vote in Turkish elections live across all of Europe.