33 Kurds are currently being prosecuted by the Belgian courts. What did they do? They spoke out for the Kurdish cause and promoted Kurdish culture. On the demand of the Turkish state these innocent people are criminalized in Belgium for supposedly being involved in terrorist activities. The trial is an outrage for the Belgian democracy and means a danger not only for Kurds, but for everyone who stands up for his or her opinion.
The Kurdish activists are accused of being involved in terrorist activities, but in reality all of them are engaged in peaceful and democratic activities in Belgium, an EU member state.
The inquiry is almost solely based on evidence produced by the Turkish state, which is also a civil party in the trial. Meanwhile this state is waging a war against Kurdish people, committing crimes against humanity, and wages a brutal repression against Turkish and non-Turkish human rights activists, journalists, lawyers, politicians and everyone who criticizes the AKP government and its president.
Until now, no research has been done into evidence that suggests that the accusations against these activists are false.
The Public Prosecutor uses a vague concept of a “PKK cloud” and states that all Kurdish activists and cultural or other organisations are part of this cloud. This is not true. Not every Kurdish person or organisation, that stands up for the basic rights of the Kurdish people, is a member of the PKK. Moreover, to prove that the PKK is a terrorist organization, they refer to the fact that the PKK is on the European list of terrorist organizations. This list itself has no legal value and was created in the aftermath of 9/11. The PKK was added to the list because of heavy pressure from the Turkish government. Unfortunately, it is actually the AKP and Mr. Erdogan who are directly and indirectly supporting the real terrorists such as ISIS-Daesh, that are active in Europe, as we all know, since the Paris attacks. During the last four years, thousands of European jihadi terrorists were able to travel through Turkey and to pass the Syrian border while the Turkish government also tolerated or organised logistical and medical support to terrorists inside Syria. It is therefore important to note that more than 100 Members of the European Parliament have signed a call to remove the PKK from the list of terrorist organisations.
We do not accept that the activists on trial are considered guilty, while never committing any act of violence. We call for support for these 33 Kurds. Belgian and European civil society organisations have nothing to gain with a setback of democratic rights. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly condemned the Turkish repression of various kinds of organisation and expression, such as trade unions, LGBT activists and Kurdish and minority cultures. These Turkish norms should not become ours.
We consider this trial as an open and frontal attack on our common civil and democratic rights, such as freedom of speech and the right of association. What is at stake with this trial goes far beyond the Kurdish question. A conviction of these Kurdish activists would be an unjust application of the antiterrorism law, which will lead to the hollowing of the fundamental rights of everyone in Europe.
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