Turkish/Kurdish protests

Europe is continuing to see Turkish protests, as well as some Kurdish counter protests.

About 100 Kurds demonstrated in the Hague on Friday against a possible invasion of North-Iraq by Turkey. According to the police, the protests was very orderly. [see video]

On Saturday, about 100 people of Turkish origin protested in Liege, Belgium against the PKK, the Kurdish Labor Party. With Turkish flags and banners men, women and children expressed their opposition to the party, banned in Turkey and seen as a terrorist party.

The protest, which marched through town for an hour, proceeded calmly, according to local police,

"For two weeks we hear of attacks in Turkey, performed by the PKK against the Turkish army. We lose many youth who are obligated to do their army duty. Many families suffer from it," emphasized Mustafa Ozdemir, one of the organizers of the protest, who belongs to the left-wing of the Liege Turks. Three thousand posters were put out before the protests. Ozdemir estimates there are about 20,000 Turks in the city.

In Utrecht 1000 Turks demonstrated Sunday afternoon, organized by the Turkish-Dutch Student Association Erkin, which had gotten a permit for it. This protest also passed by quietly.

A Turkish anti-PKK protest also took place in Genk, with about 200 protesters, mostly local youth. According to police, the protest passed by peacefully with the protesters marching by foot, and the procession being brought up by tooting cars.

"There were slogans shouted out but there weren't threatening. They were about freedom and friendship between all people. Many participants waved Turkish flags. The protest was accompanied by the traffic police and the Turkish associations," according to police chief Mulleners. It was not clear today either who were the organizers. The police had determined in the past days that chain-SMSs were being sent out calling for people to join in the protest.

The Belgian Foreign Ministry will remind the Turkish ambassador in Brussels that an ambassador may not stir up countrymen who have emigrated, according to State Secretary Vincent Van Quickenborne, speaking for Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht in response to a parliamentary question by senator Josy Dubié. If the ambassador had infringed that principle, the ministry will not neglect to contact the Turkish authorities.

Dubié questioned the minster about the riots which took place in Brussels on Sunday and Wednesday. According to the senator the extreme right-wing Turkish organization Grey Wolves were behind the riots. He pointed out that vandals had managed to force their way into the American embassy on Sunday where they had set fire to the US flag and replaced it with a Turkish flag.

Dubié said he had received information that the Turkish ambassador had spurred on his countrymen against the minorities remaining in Turkey.

In the answer read out by Van Quickenborne, Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx condemned the riots. The public prosecution had opened up many legal files. The priority is to identification of those who fanned the flames of the riots. Onkelinx emphasized thatthe Brussels court will act quickly and severely.

Through the State Secretary minister of Interior Affairs Patrick Dewael said that the Gray Wolves have been added to the list of dangerous sects, but they are not coupled with terrorist activities.

In the Netherlands, meanwhile, the Gray Wolves apparently organized a flyby with their slogan. Read more at Klein Verzet.

Despite a call by SMS for Turkish youth to come into the streets again today, the Brussels municipalities of Schaarbeek and Sint-Joost-ten-Node remained calm. Police did arrest a dozen youth who walked about provocatively with a Turkish flag.

Ninety three people were picked up during the riots last week, of which 85 were held in administrative detention. Since Thursday the police is not leaving anything to chance and is massively present in the streets, with about 360 agents, a great number of armored and prison police cars and five water cannons at the ready.

In an interview last week, Selimat Belkiran of the Union of Turkish Associations said the riots which took place in Schaarbeek and Sint-Joost-ten-Node are unacceptable. The Union hopes that illegal protest can be prevented in the future and that such incidents won't occur.

"Protests can only be in a lawful manner." he said. "Incidents such those of Sunday and Yesterday are unacceptable. They don't help our case and our image. Whoever wants to protest must apply for it and do it in a dignified manner."

The riots took place after internet and SMS messages called people up for an illegal protests. Turkish youth also gathered in Antwerp but there the protest passed quietly. "In Antwerp we immediately met with the different Turkish organization and made contact with the police. After that a delegation went to the place where the protesters gathered and spoke with them. We made it clear to them that there was no protest and that there couldn't be one. In this way we succeeded to keep feelings calm. What happened in Brussels and why it got out of hand there, I don't know."

In any case, Belkiran hopes the situation would stay quiet. "Naturally the situation in Kurdistan would play a part. What happens there, is followed closely here. Meanwhile we have not heard of new calls via SMS or internet that could lead to problems again."

Meanwhile the Union is trying to organize a protest of its own. "We have submitted an application to hold a meeting in Antwerp. There we will express our disgust and rejection of terrorism in an organized manner and everybody would be able to come in and take part."

Sources: HLN 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Dutch), AD (Dutch), Telegraaf (Dutch)

See also: Brussels: Turkish riots


Fatso said...

May I politely suggest to these young Turks and Kurds that if they are so concerned, why don't they pack their carrier bags and head off out of Europe to their respective homelands and join the army and fight?

Funny how they like to cause mayhem here in Europe but are too scared to do something about the problem by going home to fight?

Cowards the lot of them

Anonymous said...

They're not cowards, they're disenfranchised youth.