Pro-Kurdish rallies in Dusseldorf likely to inflame German-Turkish ties

Pro-Kurdish rallies in Dusseldorf likely to inflame German-Turkish ties

25,000 are expected to turn out at a pro-Kurdish rally in the German city of Dusseldorf today. A smaller march in neighbouring Belgium last weekend sparked riots between Kurds and Turks, prompting a ban on public gatherings in Antwerp. Large Kurdish rallies, often calling for the release of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, have caused significant

Pro-Kurdis rallies in Germany

Photo: Danny Holleck

25,000 are expected to turn out at a pro-Kurdish rally in the German city of Dusseldorf today. A smaller march in neighbouring Belgium last weekend sparked riots between Kurds and Turks, prompting a ban on public gatherings in Antwerp.

Large Kurdish rallies, often calling for the release of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, have caused significant friction between Germany and Turkey. Incensed by the demonstrations, Ankara summoned the German ambassador in September, accusing Berlin of failing to prevent the political activities of the PKK—a designated terrorist group.

For its part, German authorities have pushed back against moves by President Erdogan to rally support among the three million ethnic Turks in the country. The detention of more than 50 German citizens by Turkey, 12 of whom are considered political prisoners, has further soured relations.

The spat has resulted in the worst crisis in German-Turkish relations since the end of World War II and threatens security cooperation, as well as their $36 billion economic relationship.

While neither side can afford a break in relations, today’s developments bode poorly for a much-needed rapprochement.

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