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[UPDATE] Ankara summons Swiss ambassador over Bern rally

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry, which on Saturday summoned Switzerland’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara over a Kurdish rally in Bern targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Sunday summoned Swiss Ambassador Walter Haffner, Cumhuriyet reported.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also on Saturday expressed his reactions to the event during a phone call with his Swiss counterpart, Didier Burkhalter.

During the rally in front of the Federal Parliament building in Bern, participants, who carried symbols of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the far-leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), also targeted President Erdoğan with a banner showing a gun pointed to his head and the words “Kill Erdogan.”

In a statement issued on Saturday the Foreign Ministry said following the reaction of the ministry, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu expressed his dissatisfaction during a phone call with his Swiss counterpart, Burkhalter.

“The judicial and administrative steps of Swiss authorities against this explicit crime will be closely followed by our ministry,” said the statement.

The ministry also noted that Swiss authorities allowed participants to demonstrate over a referendum to take place in Turkey on April 16.

Turkish politicians have been traveling to Europe to campaign for the April 16 referendum that will greatly expand President Erdoğan’s powers.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium have recently cancelled the rallies, leading to crises between Turkey and European countries.

Switzerland launched a criminal investigation into possible foreign spying on the country’s Turkish community, federal prosecutors said on Friday, according to Reuters.

The Swiss foreign minister told his Turkish counterpart on Thursday that Switzerland would “rigorously investigate” any illegal spying by Ankara on expatriate Turks before an April 16 referendum.

As tension between European countries and Turkey over a ban on referendum campaign rallies conducted by Turkish ministers persists, President Erdoğan said on Friday that Germany, Switzerland and Belgium lack democracy and freedoms.

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