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German security on high alert for Erdogan visit

German security on high alert for Erdogan visit
By Mark Armstrong
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Around 5,000 police officers are expected on the streets of Berlin to provide security during a visit by Turkey's President Erdogan


Turkey's President Erdogan is visiting Germany for the first time since 2014 where he will hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Steinmeier. Relations between the two countries have been badly damaged over the past few years. The three-day visit has been classed with the highest security level with 5000 police officers on the streets of Berlin. Large parts of the capital are blocked off. One security concern is the protest that has been called for Friday. The police are expecting tens of thousands of people, including left-wing and Kurdish groups. And there are concerns that nationalist Turkish groups will try to disrupt the demonstration.

“We will at least demonstrate peacefully as the Kurdish organisation of Germany, Ali Ertan Toprak, the head of the Kurdish Association of Germany told euronews. "We will do everything to not get involved with provocations, wherever these provocations come from.”

Demonstrations that include Kurdish groups are sometimes problematic for the police in Germany. At rallies in the past Kurdish protestors have shown the symbols of the PKK organisation - labeled as a terrorist organisation by the EU.

“The PKK is classified as a terrorist organisation in the EU and Germany and the symbols of PKK are therefore banned," said Toprak. "But of course, there is a possibility that young radicalised and emotional people will show the symbols anyway. But we, as the Kurdish organisation of Germany will not show banned symbols.”

On Saturday Erdogan is due to continue to Cologne in the west of Germany where he will participate in the opening of a new Mosque. Protests are also expected there.

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