Investigations launched into banner targeting Erdoğan in Switzerland, Turkey

Investigations launched into banner targeting Erdoğan in Switzerland, Turkey

Investigations launched into banner targeting Erdoğan in Switzerland, Turkey

AP photo

Investigations have been launched into a banner that targeted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a rally by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) supporters in the Swiss capital Bern. 

Probes into the banner, which read “Kill Erdoğan” and carried a picture of a gun aimed at his head, have been launched both in Turkey and Switzerland, after Ankara reacted harshly against it. 

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 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.” 

Stating that the police saw the banner during the rally, Jaggi noted that legal action was taken immediately. He also said no detention had yet been carried out regarding the incident. 

Moreover, the Bern municipality also took action for an investigation to be opened into the rally, Doğan News Agency reported, citing Swiss media. Reto Nause, the security chief of Bern, confirmed the investigation, which he said was launched due to the participants not carrying out the conditions for permission. 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on March 25 summoned Switzerland’s deputy ambassador to Ankara to express its reaction over the rally. 

“We are protesting this rally that explicitly promoted violence and terrorism and was permitted. We ask Switzerland to take immediate legal action against this offense,” the ministry said in a statement late on March 25.   

The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) and the Swiss Green Party also supported 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.  

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.”