Turkey condemns Strasbourg attack by PKK sympathizers

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.02.2019 00:26

Turkey strongly condemns the attack by the sympathizers of the PKK terrorist organization on the Council of Europe and police officers in Strasbourg, France, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

In response to a question about the attack which resulted in three police officers being injured and 43 people detained, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said Ankara had repeatedly warned its European allies about demonstrations organized by the supporters of the PKK while displaying pictures of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, and had pointed to their potential of turning violent.

"Most recently, with the violent rally in front of the Agora building of the of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Feb. 25, 2019, PKK sympathizers once again showed the true face of the terror group," the spokesperson said, slamming Europe for allowing such demonstrations that amount to terror propaganda.

"The fact that some circles and the media in Europe still regard PKK rallies as acts carried out by so-called ‘Kurdish activists' is regrettable," he said, adding that this clearly demonstrates the point reached by Europe's "double standards."

According to local media, PKK supporters staged demonstrations in front of the building of the Council of Europe in a bid to protest the detention conditions of Öcalan.

The 70-year-old Öcalan, who founded the PKK in 1978, was captured in 1999 and sentenced to the death penalty due to his role in the terrorist group's decades-long campaign against the Turkish state. After the abolition of the death penalty in Turkey in 2002, Öcalan's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He is being held in a high security prison on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara.

A group of PKK sympathizers attacked police officers by throwing stones, projectiles and sticks, breaking the Agora building's windows and glass doors, plus setting fire to garbage cans. Police were also targeted by the demonstrators.

Speaking to reporters, Daniel Holtgen, the director of communications at the Council of Europe, said: "Everybody is entitled to peaceful demonstration, but violence and vandalism are unacceptable."

Heavy security measures were taken on the Avenue de l'Eur

ope, where the demonstration took place.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by the EU, the U.S. and Turkey. However, some EU countries have ignored the presence of the group in their countries, allowing its followers to hold mass rallies in their cities. The PKK has also used the EU to bolster its financial resources, recruitment and as a safe haven for its leadership. However, despite benefiting from freedom in Europe, the terrorists don't refrain from often attacking European cities.

From Jan. 1 to March 15, 2017, six attacks occurred in Germany, one in Greece, one in Switzerland and one in Sweden. In comparison, there were 42 attacks in Germany, six in France, five in the Netherlands, three in Switzerland, one in Austria, one in Greece, one in Switzerland, one in Denmark, one in Ireland and

one in the U.K., during the same period in 2018. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

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