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Turkey Threatens Another Rally In Germany, Escalating Tensions Further

March 19, 2017

Turkey says there is a possibility that Turkish ministers could plan another rally in Germany ahead of an April 16 referendum, a move that could further escalate tensions between Ankara and Berlin.

The comment was made by Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk on March 19.

Earlier, Kalin criticized German authorities for allowing the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, to hold rallies in Germany.

About 30,000 pro-Kurdish protesters gathered in the central city of Frankfurt on March 18 to protest against the referendum sought by Erdogan, which would give the president greater power.

Demonstrators in the German city yelled "Erdogan terrorist" and "Freedom for Ocalan," a reference to Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.

"We strongly condemn the German authorities for allowing the demonstrations by PKK terrorist supporters," Kalin said in a statement.

Frankfurt police described the protest as peaceful and said most of the demonstrators had complied with German law.

Turkey has been embroiled in an angry diplomatic dispute with Germany and the Netherlands after both countries prevented Turkish ministers from addressing rallies of expatriate Turks, citing safely concerns.

Erdogan responded by accusing Germany of "Nazi practices" and blaming the Dutch for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia.

On March 17, Turkey threatened to send 15,000 refugees to the European Union and warned it could cancel a March 2016 deal with the EU to curb the influx of refugees to the bloc.

Erdogan's call on March 17 for Turks living in Europe to have at least five children, as a response to what he called Europe's "injustices," has also angered German nationalists -- who responded by renewing calls for an end to dual citizenship.

Germany is home to over 3 million people of Turkish origin, with nearly half of them eligible to vote in Turkey.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

Source: http://www.rferl.org/a/turkey-germany- erdogan-rally/28378241.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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