Swiss launch probe into anti-Erdoğan protests after foreign ministry summons envoy

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Supporters of outlawed PKK, hold placards reading "Kill Erdogan" with a picture representing a gun pointed at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a meeting calling "no" vote for the upcoming referendum in Turkey, in Bern, Switzerland on March 25, 2017.

Swiss authorities launched an investigation into protests in Bern on Saturday targeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the Swiss ambassador in Ankara was summoned over the incident.

According to the T24 website, the Bern-Mitteland Prosecutor’s Office launched investigation over a placard that read “Kill Erdoğan – with his own weapons.” Reto Nause, the security chief of Bern, also confirmed that a probe had been launched into the incident.

On Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Walter Haffner, Switzerland’s ambassador to Turkey, over the protests in Bern that it said was organized by supporters of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and targeted President Erdoğan.

On Saturday, several thousand people, including PKK supporters, joined a rally in the Swiss capital calling for a ‘No’ vote in Turkey’s April 16 referendum that will expand the powers of Erdoğan under a constitutional overhaul.

Turkey told Haffner on Sunday that it expected the Swiss authorities to bring those responsible for the protest to justice and to take precautions to ensure such incidents do not happen again, sources said.

In a speech in İstanbul on Sunday, Erdoğan lashed out at the Swiss government, saying that through their media they were campaigning for a ‘No’ vote.

“Switzerland took it a step further. Their leftist parties and the terrorists … have come together and carried out a march. In the Swiss parliament, they hang my picture with a gun to my head. The Swiss parliament remains silent in the face of this,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey’s relations with various European countries have recently become strained due to the cancellation of rallies planned to be attended by Turkish ministers in order to seek the support of Turkish expatriates for a referendum in Turkey on April 16 that will expand Erdoğan’s powers and change Turkey into an executive presidency.

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