Clashes have broken out in two major German cities between security forces and hundreds of pro-Kurdish demonstrators rallying against the Turkish government.
Riot police had to use pepper spray and batons on Sunday to end the skirmishes that erupted as pro-Kurdish activists confronted participants in a rally supporting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Frankfurt.
Three people reportedly sustained injuries during the imbroglio.German security personnel also arrested 15 Kurdish protesters in Cologne as they threw firecrackers and bottles at pro-Erdogan demonstrators.
In Hanover, around 2,000 supporters of the Turkish government staged a rally to condemn recent terrorist attacks in Ankara and Istanbul.
They chanted slogans against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group which is waging a bloody campaign against the Turkish government, and condemned its activities in Turkey’s troubled southeastern.
Pro-Turkish protesters hold Turkish national flags as they take part in a demonstration in Hamburg, Germany, April 10, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
“There is no Turkish or Kurdish problem in Turkey,” organizer Haluk Tosun said. “We condemn the organizations and countries that support terror.”
The demonstrations came only a day after rival pro-Erdogan and pro-Kurdish rallies were held in Cologne, Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and several other German cities.
Police detained 24 people from the two opposing camps in Cologne on Saturday as they hurled firecrackers and bottles at each other and law enforcement forces, leaving at least five officers injured.
Twelve officers and five activists were reportedly injured in Stuttgart as rocks and firecrackers were hurled at police.
Turkish soldiers walk during a curfew in Diyarbakir’s historical Sur district, in eastern Turkey, February 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
A ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed last July and attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq and Syria.
The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.