Speaker protests Turkey’s ‘dangerous’ portrayal of MP

Summary

Siegfried Bracke will speak to the Turkish ambassador to Belgium this week about a Turkish TV channel’s depiction of Zuhal Demir as a supporter of the PKK

Threats at home and abroad

The speaker of the federal parliament has called in the Turkish ambassador to formally object to the portrayal of a Flemish MP on a Turkish news channel as a supporter of the Kurdish independence movement PKK.

Siegfried Bracke said the statement has exposed MP Zuhal Demir to potential danger from supporters of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Demir (pictured) has Kurdish roots and has expressed support for the rights of Kurdish people “but without violence”.

She has also clearly expressed her opposition to the separatist movement. “Just because you have Kurdish roots doesn’t mean you necessarily support the PKK,” she said.

Her depiction as a PKK supporter – coinciding with the Brussels trial of a number of PKK members accused of terrorist attacks – led to threats both here and in Turkey. Bracke, who is a party colleague but took his position as representative of the parliament as a whole, will put his position to the ambassador on Tuesday.

“This is a matter of common practice,” he said. “I see a lot of ambassadors, at their request or at mine.” He stressed he would do the same should the MP involved be from another party.

Photo: Rob Stevens/KU Leuven