A Germany-based pro-PKK group has announced plans to hold demonstrations in Berlin ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit in September, German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported Friday.
Speaking to the dpa, Deputy Chairman of the group called Kurdish Community of Germany (Kurdische Gemeinde Deutschland) Mehmet Tanrıverdi said that they are planning to hold large-scale protests at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate.
The group claims to represent Germany's Kurdish community but instead acts as a subgroup of the terrorist PKK. It has demanded Germany removes the PKK from its list of terrorist organizations.
"We are not OK with the red carpet being rolled out here for Erdoğan," Tanrıverdi said, adding that they will mobilize their supporters nationwide to increase the participation for a "massive event," calling other organizations and representatives of the political parties while adding that they are estimating the number of participants to be between 10,000 and 20,000.
No certain date has yet been given for Erdoğan's visit. He made his last official visit to Berlin in February 2014.
Tanrıverdi added that they will demand the release of political prisoners in Turkey as well as the end of Turkey's military operations against the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG).
According to a 2017-report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), there are 14,500 PKK sympathizers in Germany, with an increase of 500 since 2016. "The PKK continues to be the largest terrorist group in Germany in terms of a number of members and power," the report suggests.
Formed in 1978, the PKK terrorist group has fought a long separatist battle against the Turkish state. Its terror campaign has killed more than 40,000 people, including women and children. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
The report also reveals that the terrorist group collected 25 million euros in Europe, including 14 million euros in Germany. The BfV report added that many PKK-linked organizations and foundations have changed their name to make positive impressions in the recent years.
PKK followers and sympathizers have long enjoyed the freedom to continue their activities, including fundraising and recruitment, across many European cities - despite the EU ban.
The tacit lenience given to the sympathizers and members of the PKK by many European countries over the years has given the militants the courage necessary to escalate their actions into violent attacks against Turks and the wider Turkish community. The violent attacks saw a particular rise this year after Turkey launched a cross-border operation into Syria to eliminate the YPG.
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