The German government has attempted Monday to calm tensions with Turkey over the terrorist group PKK’s rally in the city of Frankfurt, citing local authorities' responsibility.
At the government's regular news conference in Berlin, deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said that it was not the federal government, but the authorities of the state of Hesse that were responsible for security affairs in the region.
“If laws are violated, it is under the responsibility of the relevant authorities to prosecute these violations,” she said.
Turkey strongly condemned Germany on Saturday, after nearly 9,000 people marched in Frankfurt with PKK posters and flags, openly defying the federal government's prohibition of terrorist symbols in public places.
Tobias Plate, spokesman of the Federal Interior Ministry, said while the federal government has listed the PKK as a terrorist organization and banned the use of its symbols, it was the responsibility of the federal states to take necessary measures to enforce the ban.
“As the federal government, we cannot comment on the measures that were taken by the authorities of the state of Hesse with regard to the demonstration in Frankfurt am Main, because it is their area of responsibility,” Plate said at the news conference.
The PKK sympathizers carried banned posters and flags during the rally in Frankfurt and shouted anti- Turkey slogans, even though the Interior Ministry on March 2 updated its list of prohibited PKK symbols to include the image of the terrorist organization's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Plate said Frankfurt police might have refrained from intervening in order to prevent clashes and chaos, but underlined that based on the evidence gathered, legal authorities could open criminal proceedings against participants who violated laws during the rally.
The PKK’s rally in Frankfurt has sparked an even bigger outrage in Turkey, as it came only days after German authorities blocked rallies by Turkish government ministers or politicians in Germany, who wanted to address their countrymen on the proposed transition to a presidential system.
Nearly 3 million Turkish immigrants live in Germany, and around half are eligible to vote in Turkey’s April 16 referendum on the proposed constitutional change for a transition to a presidential system of governance.
The fallout over the referendum rallies is the latest sign of strained ties between Ankara and Berlin.
Turkish politicians have repeatedly slammed Germany for turning a blind eye to terrorist organizations such as the PKK.
The PKK has more than 14,000 followers in Germany among the Kurdish migrant population, and raised more than €13 million ($14.3 million) in 2015, according to reports by the German domestic intelligence agency, the BfV.
The terrorist group -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015 and since then has been responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,200 security personnel and civilians, including women and children.