Turkish Foreign Ministry summons Swiss ambassador over PKK rally in Bern
ANKARAThe Turkish Foreign Ministry on March 26 summoned Switzerland’s ambassador to Ankara to express its reaction over an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rally targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Swiss capital Bern.
The move comes one day after the Swiss deputy ambassador was summoned to the ministry in the absence of ambassador Walter Haffner, who was not in the city at the time.
An official said the ministry protested the meeting of the PKK supporters and conveyed Ankara’s reaction to the deputy chief of mission of Switzerland in Ankara.
Erdoğan was targeted at the rally with a banner that read “Kill Erdoğan.” The Swiss police did not interfere against the banner, which had a photo of Erdoğan with a gun pointed to his temple.
“We are protesting this rally that explicitly promoted violence and terrorism and has been permitted, and we ask Switzerland to take immediate legal action against this offense,” the ministry said in a statement late on March 25.
It also added that Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called his Swiss counterpart about the rally, expressing his reaction.
A spokesman for the Swiss Foreign Ministry said the incident would be investigated.
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.
The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) and The Swiss Green Party also supported the rally, which was attended by approximately 250 sympathizers of the PKK. Around 3,000 people were expected to attend the rally.
PKK supporters shouted slogans against Erdoğan and chanted their support for a ‘no’ vote in the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments in front of the Federal Parliament building.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan also slammed Switzerland over the demonstration with his banner and said the crowd included supporters of terrorist groups.
“When you look at the Swiss parliament today, extremist terror organizations put my picture along with a gun put to my temple. Can there be such a mentality? The country is Switzerland. There are many like that,” he said.
An opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy, Feleknas Uca, also delivered a speech at the rally. SP deputy Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, Federal Member of the Green Party Sibel Arslan and Chairman of the Swiss Association of Trade Unions Paul Rechsteiner also attended the rally.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, is not on the list of terrorist organizations in Switzerland. However, in an annual security report titled “Switzerland’s Security 2015,” published by the Swiss Federal Defense, Civil Defense and Sports Ministry, the PKK was described as “a group with non-decreasing potential of violence and an extremist terrorist group that may resort to violence.”