COLOGNE, GERMANY: Tens of thousands of members of Germany’s Turkish community rallied in the city of Cologne Sunday, in a show of support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following Turkey’s failed coup.
Police said some 20,000 people had joined in the demonstration staged by groups including the pro-Erdogan Union of European-Turkish Democrats (UETD).
Waving the red Turkish flags, the demonstrators kicked off their rally singing both Turkey’s and Germany’s national anthems before observing a minute’s silence for those killed in the July 15 putsch, as well as for victims of recent attacks including in Paris and Munich.
The UETD expects between 30,000 and 50,000 to turn up, including participants from Finland, Britain and Austria.
The protesters had began streaming in from midday, some also holding posters bearing slogans such as “Erdogan fights for freedom”.
Police are out in force and water cannons have also been deployed to prevent any clashes with protesters at counter-demonstrations.
Germany is home to Turkey’s biggest diaspora, with most of the immigrants arriving here in Europe’s biggest economy in the 1960s under a “guest worker” programme.