We condemn unlawful operations against the free press in Belgium and Turkey

Statement by our Foreign Affairs Co-Spokespersons Ebru Günay & Berdan Öztürk:

Belgium police, armed with long-barrelled weapons, have raided Kurdish Media Outlets, Medya Haber TV and Sterk TV. The raid took place this morning, the day after Kurdish Journalism Day. Journalists report that police deliberately damaged technical equipment and internet and electrical installations.

This Belgian attack is an example in Europe of the state violence that has been carried out in Turkey against the opposition press for years, and strongly suggests collaboration between both governments, especially coming, as it does, shortly after the visit to Belgium of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, at the beginning of this month.

Sterk TV broadcasts are closely followed by millions of Kurds in Rojava (North and East Syria) who are fighting against Dash, and in Rojhilat (the Kurdish regions of Iran) who are under pressure from the Iranian regime. There can be no reasonable grounds for this action, which is against fundamental principles of both European and Belgium law and can only benefit totalitarian regimes.

We find it hard to believe that it is a coincidence that the operation against the Kurdish press in Belgium has taken place at the same time as raids against Kurdish journalists in Istanbul and Ankara.

We urge all European political institutions and press organisations that defend democracy to stand with Kurdish media outlets against these unlawful practices.

We strongly condemn the raids and aggression carried out by the Belgian state against exiled Kurdish media outlets and expect an explanation from the Belgian authorities.

Ebru Günay & Berdan Öztürk
DEM Party Co-Spokespersons
23 April 2024