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Turkey summons German ambassador to Ankara over Kurdish rally in Cologne

Ankara has summoned Germany's ambassador after more than 10,000 Kurds rallied in Cologne. The rally was in support of Kurdish independence as well as the jailed leader of the banned PKK.

Turkey summoned the German ambassador to Ankara in response to a large rally held by Kurds in Cologne on Saturday.

More than 10,000 people rallied in the west German city in support of an independence referendum in Iraq.

Martin Erdmann, German Ambassador to Turkey

Martin Erdmann, German Ambassador to Turkey

Ankara summoned ambassador Martin Erdmann to voice concern over what it called a militant rally, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Read more: Iraqi Kurdish parliament votes to hold independence referendum

"We condemn the organization of a rally in the German city of Cologne by the extensions of the PKK terrorist organizations, and the allowing of terror propaganda. We have voiced our reaction in a strong manner to Germany's ambassador to Ankara, who was called to the ministry," it said.

On Saturday, Kurdish demonstrators called for freedom for Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), independence for Kurdistan, and democracy for the Middle East, local paper Kölner Stadt Anzeiger reported.

Read more: The Middle East's complex Kurdish landscape

They had gathered at what was ostensibly a cultural festival organized by the Democratic Social Center for Kurds in Germany.

In Cologne last November, a demonstration was held in support of detained PKK leader Ocalan and against the security clampdown in Turkey following the July 2016 failed coup.

In Cologne last November, a demonstration was held in support of detained PKK leader Ocalan and against the security clampdown in Turkey following the July 2016 failed coup.

"We are protesting and celebrating at the same time - that is our culture," attendee Rifat Arslan told the paper, after traveling there from Frankfurt with his family. "We demand a recognized and free Kurdistan and want the release of our leader Ocalan," he was quoted as saying.

The PKK is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, Germany and the European Union.

Turkey accused Germany of not doing enough to stop PKK activities.

"The double standard approach Germany has been following with regards to the global fight against terrorism is worrying. We call on Germany to show a principled stance against all kinds of terror," the ministry said in the statement.

Read more: Supporters of independent Kurdistan seek EU backing

On September 3, about 25,000 Kurdish supporters demonstrated in Cologne against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, where they also carried posters of Ocalan.

aw/jm (dpa, Reuters)

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