GENEVA -- Four people went on trial in the Swiss capital Tuesday over a protest against Turkey's government four years ago where some demonstrators hoisted a banner showing a gun pointed at an image of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan next to the words, “Kill Erdogan.”
Bern regional prosecutors at the time opened a probe for alleged “public provocation of crimes or violence,” and an investigation was also opened in Turkey. Officers collected evidence when the banner was raised during a peaceful protest outside the Swiss Parliament.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said prosecutors in Istanbul have launched a separate investigation. The people responsible for the poster could face charges for crimes such as membership in a terror organization, insulting the president and promoting terrorist propaganda, the news agency reported.
Turkish authorities have alleged that groups including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, were involved, according to the state news agency Anadolu said. The party is banned in Turkey and considered a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.
Erdogan referred to the poster in 2017 while campaigning for constitutional changes to grant him sweeping new powers, just months after a failed coup attempt in Turkey.
The peaceful, if noisy demonstration came amid tensions between Ankara and parts of Europe over the referendum in Turkey on the proposed constitutional changes, and allegations of Turkish interference on the Swiss political scene.