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Reinach concert Turkish event cancelled over security concerns

A demonstrator makes the "grey wolves" sign during a protest in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, over the reception given to two Turkish ministers, including Cavuşoğlu

(Keystone)

Swiss police on Friday cancelled a planned concert linked to a Turkish nationalist group, citing security concerns after a radical left organisation announced it would protest the event.

Around 500 people had been expected to attend Saturday's concert, in Reinach near Basel, which was being planned by groups linked to the Turkish nationalist group the Grey Wolves.

Canton Basel Country police said in a statementexternal link it had taken the decision in agreement with the canton’s security authorities, following the “the latest developments”.

It said it had concluded in its evaluation of the situation that security and public order could no longer be guaranteed under the latest conditions. As a result the “Grey Wolves” event and all forms of counterprotest have been banned, the statement continued.

On Friday morning the radical left group “Antifa” said on social media that it would hold a protest against the event, Swiss media reported.

In an interview with Swiss public televisionexternal link, the organisers of the Turkish event denied that it was linked to a campaign for an upcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey for which Turkish politicians have been lobbying the Turkish expat community across Europe.

Issue in Switzerland and abroad

These lobby efforts have been the focus of much attention of late, both in Switzerland and abroad, including in neighbours Germany and Austria.

Last week, Swiss police in canton Aargau banned an event featuring a senior Turkish politician in Spreitenbach, which later took place in canton Zurich.

But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu postponed his planned visit to Switzerland for March 12.

The Zurich authorities had previously called on the government to ban Cavuşoğlu, but the Swiss government said his visit posed “no heightened threat to domestic security”, adding there were no grounds to limit freedom of speech. 

swissinfo and agencies/ilj

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