ADDS MORE BACKGROUND ON PYD/PKK PROTESTS
BERLIN (AA) - Supporters of the terrorist PYD/PKK on Monday stormed a news conference by a German government spokesman, in the latest instance of radical and violent protests by the group.
Five demonstrators carrying banners of the terrorist group entered the conference hall of a Berlin media center after Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, arrived for Monday’s regular press briefing.
The protestors shouted slogans against Turkey’s ongoing military operation against terrorist PYD/PKK targets in northwestern Syria and called on Berlin to stop arms sales to NATO partner Turkey.
The PYD/PKK sympathizers left the conference hall after a security guard came and asked them to leave.
Germany has witnessed a growing number of radical protests and violence by PYD/PKK supporters since the group launched a campaign two weeks ago to protest Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.
Sympathizers of the group attacked five mosques run by Turkish-Muslim associations in Germany, and threatened more violence.
Last week, several Turkish citizens were attacked by PYD/PKK demonstrators at Hannover Airport.
A demonstration of PYD/PKK supporters in Cologne on Saturday was dispersed by police, after protestors insisted on carrying banned symbols of the terrorist group.
The protests in Cologne’s city center have sparked criticism among shop owners, who reported falling revenues, as many customers fearing violence avoided visiting the area, which was cordoned off by police.
Local daily Express reported that the loss of business, in the main shopping center of Schildergasse alone, was estimated at around €1.2 million on Saturday.
The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it remains active, with nearly 14,000 followers among the country's Kurdish immigrant population.
Turkey has long criticized NATO partner Germany for not taking serious measures against the PKK, which uses the country as a platform for their fund-raising, recruitment and propaganda activities.
Germany has a 3 million-strong Turkish community, many of whom are second- and third-generation German-born citizens of Turkish descent whose grandparents moved to the country during the 1960s.