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Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
World | By Ernestine Jimenez

German Kurds stage anti-Erdogan protest in Frankfurt

German Kurds stage anti-Erdogan protest in Frankfurt

On Wednesday German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said the government had approved voting by the estimated 1.4 million Turkish nationals living in Germany who are eligible to cast ballots in the April 16 referendum. "It would be best if they imposed economic sanctions on Turkey", demonstrator Sinan Anin said.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Europe was seeking to "whitewash" Gulen's group, while Defence Minister Fikri Isik said the comments raised questions about whether Berlin itself was involved in the putsch.

Some 30,000 pro-Kurdish demonstrators rallied in the German city of Frankfurt on Saturday calling for "democracy in Turkey" and urging a "no" vote in an upcoming referendum on expanding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

The voters in Turkey and millions of others overseas will decide on April 16 if they want a profound set of constitutional changes to significantly expand presidential powers.

Many carried symbols of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state for more than three decades.

The protest brought swift condemnation from Turkey, which said Germany was allowing open support for terrorism.

About 300 people, vast majority of them civilians, were killed after rebel soldiers attempted to overthrow the government on July 15, bombing state buildings and killing civilians and security forces.

He said the "scandal" of the Frankfurt demonstration showed that some European Union countries were actively working in favour of a "no" vote in the critical referendum.

On Saturday, German news magazine Der Spiegel published an interview with the head of Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency, who said Ankara had failed to convince it that the cleric Fethullah Gulen was responsible for the coup attempt.

Tens of thousands of people were arrested and civil servants were sacked in the purges after the coup attempt.

Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the charges and condemned the coup.

The constitutional change would give Erdogan sweeping new powers.

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