A Belgian appeals court has controversially turned down appeals of a prosecutor and acknowledged the initial court decision that the recruitment activities of the members of the PKK terrorist organization in the country were within the scope of an armed struggle and cannot be considered as terror crimes.
The Republic of Turkey and prosecutors are expected to take the case to the Supreme Court of Appeals. A total of 36 suspects face charges such as the abduction of minors, deprivation of liberty and death threats.
The suspects, including two high-rank executives of the PKK in Europe - Remzi Kartal and Zübeyir Aydar - will continue to be tried on the mentioned charges. PKK members are being charged with abducting minors from their families in Belgium and other western European countries and giving them training at PKK camps in Belgium, Greece and Iraq.
The charges also include the use of violence, racketeering, financing the PKK, using a radio station in the town of Denderleeuw as a PKK contact bureau and spreading the terrorist organization's propaganda. In March 2010, Belgian police launched an investigation into the PKK and raided 18 houses in several provinces. During the operations, Kartal and Aydar were arrested, but were later released by the court pending trial. The investigation on the charges was initiated in 2006 and a lawsuit was launched in October 2015.
Speaking to Daily Sabah after the initial court decision, an official from the Belgian Justice Ministry abstained from making a comment on the pretext of the separation of powers principle. When reminded that the comment was requested because the court verdict controverts the EU's list of terrorists, the spokesperson abruptly pointed at the Prime Minister's Office, saying they might issue a statement on the question.