Turkey calls in Belgian ambassador over PKK ruling
March 11, 2019
Turkey says a Belgian court decision blocks the prosecution of people with links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The European Union, the United States and Turkey consider the PKK to be a terror organization.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned Belgium's ambassador in Ankara over a Belgian judicial decision it said prevented the prosecution of people with alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to a foreign ministry official.
The summoning of Belgian Ambassador Michel Malherbe comes after a case in which Belgian federal prosecutors were seeking to try around 30 suspected members of the PKK who allegedly recruited young Kurds in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe, and then took them to combat training camps.
But a Brussels appeal court on Friday ruled that "insufficient elements were provided to conclude that the PKK is guilty of terrorist offenses."
"The Belgian ambassador was summoned to the ministry today to share our disapproval of the decision by the Belgian chamber of accusations on March 8," a Turkish foreign ministry source told French news agency AFP.
"Despite the evidence submitted by the federal prosecutor of Belgium on the PKK's terrorist nature, this decision, as it stands, provides terrorist organizations with a very dangerous area of exploitation," they added.
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Belgian law states that the terrorism label does not apply to forces engaged in an armed conflict, despite the European Union, the United States and Turkey all deeming the PKK a terror organization.
Malherbe on Friday said that despite the Belgian judiciary's decision, Belgium's view that the PKK is a terrorist organization had not changed.