Thousands attend rally in Germany’s Frankfurt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

March 18, 2017 10:30 pm

Kurdish protesters rally against Turkish President in the German city of Frankfurt on March 18, 2017 (Photo by AFP).

Nearly 9,000 Kurdish protesters have staged a rally in the German city of Frankfurt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and an April referendum on a constitutional reform bill that would boost his power.
Several hundred police officers were stationed at the Saturday demonstration, which the police described as peaceful.
Protesters chanted slogans against Erdogan and called for the freedom of Abdullah Ocalan, the detained leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group.
Ankara has outlawed the PKK, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in since the 1980s.
“The Europeans should hear us, empathize with our suffering and help us. It would be best if they imposed economic sanctions on Turkey,” a demonstrator said.
Demonstrators also warned that the situation would worsen in Turkey if Erdogan won the referendum.
“It could be that he will say: ‘I have won again’ and then he will start fighting again and destroying Kurdish towns or killing Kurds,” a protester said.
According to the German Foreign Ministry, Berlin has approved voting for an estimated 1.4 million eligible Turkish voters living in .
On April 16, Turkey will hold a referendum on the constitutional amendments, including giving executive powers to the president, currently a ceremonial post, and abolishing the office of the prime minister.
The draft constitution has already gained approval in parliament, which is dominated by lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The proposed constitutional changes have been met with widespread protest across the country, with critics saying the reforms will usher in an era of authoritarian rule and cement the AKP.
Under the new constitution, Erdogan will be able to stand in two more election cycles, potentially governing as a powerful executive until 2029.
The opponents also say the AKP is using last year’s failed coup to expand Erdogan’s authority and crackdown on opposition.
More than 250 were killed in the last July coup attempt, when a group of renegade army and police officers sought to oust Erdogan. The coup failed after the president returned to his office and people forced the putschists to lay down their arms.
Erdogan then ordered a massive crackdown, which has seen more than 40,000 people jailed and some 110,000 others discharged from their jobs.
Meanwhile, Turkey has detained 740 people for suspected links to the PKK over the last three days, state media reported on Saturday citing an Interior Ministry source.
Authorities carried out 36 raids during the three-day period, seizing equipment, documents and more than a dozen guns, state-run Anadolu agency said.
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