Turks from Cologne and other parts of Germany began gathering today, July 31, 2016 near the Deutzer Werft shipyard at the Rhine River to show their support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, bild.de reports. Organisers of the demonstration expect 50,000 people to gather, while authorities are counting with some 20,000.
As a reaction to the demonstration which is set to begin at the Deutzer Werft, Erdoğan opponents brave enough to openly show their difference in opinion will gather in another part of Germany’s fourth biggest town, the Heumarkt. The demonstration has been organised by an alliance of more parties. Some 2,000 people are expected here.
A German far-right organisation has also registered a demonstration for today, and there is also a counter demonstration to that demonstration organised.
The pro-Erdoğan demonstration has been heavily criticised by a (large) part of the German public, who view it as an export of conflicts from Turkey to Germany. Most of Turks living in Germany are pro-Erdoğan, at least the louder ones. Organisers of the pro-Erdoğan demonstrations had also planned for a live Erdoğan speech to be broadcasted on a large screen, but German courts forbade the idea. Instead, the Turkish Sports Minister is expected to speak in Cologne today.
Police forces at the demonstrations will be over 2,700 officers strong with colleagues from other parts of Germany also present, as the Cologne Police informed via Facebook.
Officially there are 1.5 million Turks living in Germany, but the number at least doubles when all people of Turkish descent living in Germany are counted.