Turkish PM denied German award amid protest rally
Berlin: Organisers of a German prize for humanity and tolerance on Saturday decided against honouring Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as 25,000 people protested against him receiving the award.
The plan to hand Erdogan the 2012 Steiger Award had been heavily criticized in Germany, where Turkish authorities have been accused of human rights abuses, notably against the minority Kurdish population.
The award organisers said they changed their mind because Erdogan was not travelling to Germany to receive the award at a ceremony yesterday night in the western city of Bochum, German news agency DPA reported.
Erdogan cancelled his trip to Germany after the deaths of 12 Turkish soldiers in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, his office said on Friday.
German police said some 25,000 people, mostly of Turkish origin, demonstrated last day in Bochum. Among them were members of minorities such as the Kurds, who accuse him of persecuting their community.
Erdogan had originally been due to receive the prize "in the name of the Turkish people" on the 50th anniversary of a pact between Germany and Turkey to admit hundreds of thousands of Turkish workers into Germany. About three million Turks or Germans of Turkish origin live in Germany.