The Turkish embassy to Switzerland faces accusations of supporting ‘war games’ involving pupils attending special classes in a public Swiss school.
The tabloid SonntagsBlick reported that children staged war games during a performance in the village of Uttwil attended by hundreds of Turks in Switzerland and diplomatic guest of honour from Turkey.
The play was apparently staged with the backing of the Turkish embassy trying to promote nationalist propaganda among the expat community in Switzerland, according to SonntagsBlick.
Neither the St Gallen authorities nor the Turkish embassy were reportedly willing to comment.
However, a coordinator for the special classes is quoted as saying the organisers of the play – re-enacting the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli – had probably gone too far.
SonntagsBlick also said similar re-enactments organised by a mosque, recently took place in a town outside the Swiss capital, Bern.
A Swiss expert on integration, Thomas Kessler, has called on the cantonal education authorities to put an end to such re-enactments, according to SonntagsBlick.
The battle, which left more than 100,000 people dead, is often regarded as a defining moment in the history of modern-day Turkey, as the Ottoman Empire crumbled and the western allies were defeated by Turkey’s armed forces.
SonntagsBlick says the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses the military history to foment the idea of Turkey as a major world power.