"In a coordinated action with Italian and French governments, Belgian police raided 25 addresses, including Kurdish broadcasting channel Roj TV. Belgian authorities not only arrested representatives of peaceful pro-Kurdish parties, including the currently detained former MPs Remzi Kartal and Zubeyir Aydar, they also damaged and seized important parts of the broadcasting channel’s technical equipment", said Klute who visited the channel’s offices yesterday in Denderleeuw.

"Taking these facts into account, I strongly feel that the recent raids are of a purely political character, questioning the rule of law in Belgium. Obviously, there is also a lack of awareness among some European governments that the Kurdish question cannot be resolved by force. Real friends of Turkey should instead push for brave steps towards dialogue and for the breaking of old taboos".

"I hope that Belgian courts will strictly comply with European standards for impartiality and independence so that Remzi Kartal and Zubeyir Aydar can benefit from a quick release. European states should be aware that they cannot demand respect for human rights in other parts of the world if they fail to provide a good example at home."
Brussels, 17March 2010