Belgian envoy recognizes Turkey's concerns over PKK

ÖZGENUR SEVINÇ
ANKARA
Published 13.03.2019 00:06

Belgium's Ambassador to Ankara Michel Malherbe, who was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over a Belgian judicial decision on the PKK, stated yesterday that he took good note of Turkey's concern and the Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor is studying the arrest and future steps that can be taken over the case.

"I took good note of the Turkish concern, which I personally fully understand as a resident of Turkey, talking to a lot of people in all walks of life, but also reiterated the independence of the Belgian justice system, to be distinguished from the government, which does consider the PKK as a terrorist organization," Malherbe told Daily Sabah.

The Belgian judicial decision blocking the prosecution of people with alleged links to the illegal PKK raised eyebrows in Ankara.

In relation to his meeting at the ministry Malherbe also added that "I see it as a normal diplomatic reaction in this situation."

Malherbe underscored that "The Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor is now studying the arrest and considering which steps to take in this case."

In a statement on March 8, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said: "Despite evidence submitted by the Federal Prosecutor of Belgium on the PKK's terrorist nature, this decision, as it stands, provides the terrorist organization with a very dangerous area of exploitation."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said it was possible to appeal the decision in the Belgium Court of Appeals and Turkey will continue its legal fight determinedly.

"We expect our ally Belgium to act in line with counter-terrorism responsibilities and take the necessary steps in the fight against the PKK terrorist organization in an effective manner," he added. The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the death of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

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