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Couchepin explains PKK crackdown

Swiss President Pascal Couchepin on Sunday defended the government's recent measures against the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Couchepin was speaking in Turkey, one day before the start of official talks in Ankara.

He called the organisation, which seeks to establish an autonomous Kurdish state, "dangerous".

"The Turks would have probably preferred a ban on the PKK but they know the Swiss reality looks different," Couchepin told Swiss radio.

On Wednesday, the government banned fundraising events due to be held at Kurdish celebrations later this month. It has also applied a more restrictive policy on demonstration permits.

"The measures became necessary after the attacks on Turkish businesses in Switzerland," Couchepin said, adding that the targets probably refused to pay "taxes" to the nationalist organisation.

PKK activists are suspected of hitting about a dozen Turkish cafés, travel agencies and other buildings in Switzerland since October.

The PKK is prohibited in most European countries but there is no legal basis to impose an outright ban in Switzerland.


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