Swiss protest organizers not charged over banner targeting President Erdoğan
GENEVA – Agence France PresseThe organizers of a protest in Switzerland, at which some demonstrators held up a banner calling for the assassination of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will not be charged, media reports said May 8.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) called the March protest in Geneva, where a banner showing a gun pointing at Erdoğan was brandished, alongside a the words: “Kill Erdoğan.”
However municipal authorities in Bern said the organizers had not breached the rules governing demonstrations, the NZZ daily reported on May 8, quoting local police chief Marc Heeb.
It was unreasonable to expect organizers of the demonstration, which drew thousands of people, to take action against the protesters waving the banner, Heeb said.
But while the organizers will not face charges, Bern prosecutors are pushing ahead with a criminal probe against the individual protesters who carried the banner and who are suspected of incitement to violence, NZZ reported.
Ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum, a rally in the capital Bern featured the banner.
Supporters of the PKK, as well as the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), took part in the rally in front of the Federal Parliament building, located in Parliament Square in Bern.
Turkey summoned the Swiss ambassador over the demonstration.
Investigations have been launched into the banner that targeted President Erdoğan, both in Turkey and Switzerland on March 27, after Ankara reacted harshly against it.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Terror and Organized Crime Bureau has launched an investigation into the banner, and a note was sent to the police in order to identify those responsible. The investigation has been launched on accusations of “making propaganda of a terrorist organization,” “membership of a terrorist organization” and “insulting the president.”
Another probe was launched in Switzerland by the Bern Mittelland Prosecutor’s Office. The canton of Bern’s police spokesperson, Dominik Jaggi, said the investigation was launched over “openly calling for crime and violence.”