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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Erdoğan’s state visit: Mini-demo against Erdoğan

Berlin was partially sealed off for the Turkish President. Less than 100 people took part in demonstrations against him.

Presidents Erdogan and Steinmeier shake hands.

Reception with red carpet: President Erdogan at Steinmeier in Bellevue Palace Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

BERLIN taz | S-Bahn and bus failures, major barriers in the government district: The state visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for whom the highest security level applies, has partially paralyzed Berlin. Demonstrations were also planned because of the controversial state visit, but there were no larger demonstrations.

Under the motto “No red carpet for the Islamist Erdogan”, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) and the Syrian Kurdish Diaspora Network in Europe e. V. registered a demonstration near Bellevue Palace, where Erdoğan met with Federal President Frank Walter Steinmeier in the afternoon.

“It is incomprehensible that our head of state and our head of government are rushing to shake this man’s hand. As long as he rules, Turkey will not be a reliable partner for Germany, Europe or NATO,” criticized STP Middle East expert Kamal Sido and also pointed this out Erdoğan’s recent statements attention to the Middle East conflict. “Erdoğan doesn’t care about the human rights of Palestinians. He exploits political Islam in order to score points with the Islamists.”

However, participation in the demonstration was significantly lower than at Erdoğan’s previous visits: 50 demonstrators were registered, around 20 took part. Sido explains the low number, among other things, with the police barriers around the Chancellery, Bellevue Palace and the Turkish embassy in the Tiergarten.

“The great hope for change has been destroyed”

The participants were actually allowed to demonstrate in the zoo; the demonstration in front of Bellevue Palace had previously been registered. “We tried for hours to find our way here. “Many others haven’t found the job here either,” says Sido. Other participants reported that they were no longer able to drive to the demonstration area because of the barriers.

Demonstration with banners and flags.

Against the red carpet reception: Demo against Erdogan in front of Bellevue Palace Photo: Annette Riedl/dpa

Around 50 people were also present at the late afternoon demonstration in front of the Chancellery, where Erdoğan will meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz later in the evening.

For the political scientist Mahir Tokatlı, this is explained, among other things, by the disillusionment in the opposition diaspora: “The great hope for change was destroyed by the renewed victory of the AKP, which reduces the motivation to take to the streets and protest,” says Tokatlı taz.

At the same time, recent history has shown that demonstrations against Erdoğan’s state visits do not change anything politically. “There have been too many visits in recent years that have been accompanied by extremely high levels of criticism, but without changing the Federal Republic’s Turkey policy,” said Tokatlı. Political events in the Middle East also obscured the current state visit.

2,800 police officers on duty

According to the police, around 2,800 police officers were on duty on Friday. Support came from other federal states and from the federal police. Due to the state visit, there were brief closures of individual bus routes as well as cancellations and delays in the entire S-Bahn network.

A demonstration is also planned for Saturday: the “Repeal PKK ban” campaign is calling on the occasion 30-year PKK ban in Germany and Erdoğan’s state visit next Saturday at 11 a.m. there will be a demonstration on Berlin’s Oranienplatz. The organizers are expecting 3,000 participants.

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