KNK: Turkey is exporting its anti-Kurdish war to Europe

KNK called on the Belgian government to prevent the Turkish state from exporting its Kurdish conflict to Belgium, to uphold both domestic and international laws and to refrain from acting lawlessly in alignment with Turkish policies.

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) Commission on Foreign Relations released a statement about the raid conducted by the Belgian police against Kurdish television channels in Denderleeuw last night.

Last night, at approximately 1:30 am, Belgian police conducted a raid on the headquarters of Sterk TV and MedyaHaber, two prominent Kurdish television channels broadcasting from Brussels since 1995.

“This coordinated crackdown on Kurdish media outlets has sparked significant concerns about press freedom and the protection of journalists’ rights,” KNK said.

The statement noted that, during the raid, police surrounded the building, barring journalists from accessing their workplace, and carried out extensive searches of offices without providing any justification for their actions. Reports from Kurdish journalists also indicate instances of physical violence and ill-treatment by the police.

“Simultaneously, a Kurdish news agency in Istanbul, Turkey, was also raided, resulting in the arrest of seven journalists. These actions further exacerbate the ongoing suppression of press freedom in the region. Of particular significance is the timing of the raid on Sterk TV and MedyaHaber, occurring on the International Day of Kurdish Journalism, commemorating the establishment of the first Kurdish newspaper, “Hawar,” in Cairo, Egypt, 126 years ago. April 22 is celebrated worldwide as ‘Kurdish Journalism Day,’ highlighting the importance of Kurdish media freedom,” the statement stressed.

KNK pointed out that Medya Haber TV and Sterk TV serve as vital platforms for reporting on events in Kurdistan to Kurds worldwide and play a crucial role in promoting Kurdish language and culture, especially in light of restrictions faced by Kurds in Turkey. “The Kurdish Journalists Association in Europe unequivocally condemns these flagrant acts of censorship and intimidation, which seek to silence independent voices and hinder the free flow of information.”

The statement continued: “These attacks closely follow the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, known for his aggressive stance towards Kurdish interests. It’s worth noting that following Fidan’s visit, the Turkish Grey Wolves (Turkish fascists) attacked Kurds returning from the Newroz (Kurdish New Year) celebration, on 21 March. The timing of these incidents raises suspicions of Turkish interference and attempts to export anti-Kurdish sentiments to Europe.”

“All Kurdish organizations in Belgium operate within the confines of Belgian law, and there are no legal grounds for such an attack. However, the manner in which the raid was conducted risks causing material damage to the TV stations and unjustly criminalizing them, further isolating them internationally, KNK added.

The statement concluded: “The Kurdistan National Congress calls upon the Belgian government to prevent the Turkish state from exporting its Kurdish conflict to Belgium. We urge the Belgian government to uphold both domestic and international laws and refrain from acting lawlessly in alignment with Turkish policies. Above all, it is crucial to ensure that Kurds are not unjustly targeted for criminalisation, and the cherished freedom of the press must not be compromised to appease the Turkish government.”