Attacks on Turkish community in Europe by PKK supporters mount as allies overlook warnings

ISTANBUL
Published 17.10.2019 00:00
Updated 20.12.2019 01:07

PKK supporters have carried out dozens of violent attacks against Turkish civilians across Europe since Operation Peace Spring was launched

PKK sympathizers in Europe have carried out at least 20 attacks against the Turkish community since Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to drive PKK-affiliated terrorists away from its borders with northern Syria.

Four Turks were injured in the latest attack that took place in the city of Ludenscheid, Germany on Wednesday.

One of the wounded, a 50-year-old man was stabbed by the supporters of the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), a spokesman for the police said in a statement.

He suffered severe injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital,

The incident occurred during a protest organized by the YPG and PKK terrorist group supporters against Operation Peace Spring.

The German police said the incident was still under investigation.

Turkey's Consul General in Essen, Şener Cebeci, visited the injured at the hospital. He assured them that the Turkish government will follow the developments on the incident.

In another incident in France, three suspects with links to the PKK terrorist group were detained late Tuesday over an attack on the Turkish Consulate General, a report in the Le Parisien said.

The report added that the suspects, two men and a woman, were detained in relation to the attack on Turkey's Consulate General in Nantes.

The PKK sympathizers painted propaganda graffiti on the walls of the building and poured gasoline around the building.

Police intervened in time thanks to the fire alarm, preventing a large fire, the report added.

As the attacks mount, Turkey on Wednesday called for an increase in security measures against the PKK violence in European countries amid an ongoing anti-terror operation in Syria.

"In spite of all the notices given to the relevant countries' authorities, we witness with deep concern that the increase in the number of violent demonstrations and actions committed by PKK factions, especially in the European countries, continues," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Turkey reaffirms its expectations from the relevant countries with respect to strengthening the measures taken and displaying maximum consideration to protect our diplomatic and consular missions, the safety of life and property of Turkish citizens and personnel abroad and to preserve Turkish interests," the statement added.

"It should be noted that we will closely follow the identification, prosecution and conviction of the offenders," the ministry said.

A senior German security official yesterday condemned violence during protests by PKK supporters in Germany against Turkey's military operation in northern Syria. The interior minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Herbert Reul, said that "the limits of our tolerance have clearly been overstepped" and urged protesters to remain peaceful.

Dutch police also said yesterday they had arrested 23 people in clashes between Turks and PKK supporters in the port city of Rotterdam during a demonstration against Ankara's operation in Syria. Trouble erupted on Wednesday night shortly after the beginning of a protest organised by the PKK supporters, which was swiftly followed by a counter-demonstration by Turks. The arrested, some of whom were armed with screwdrivers, "are suspected of open violence, aggression, destruction and insults," Rotterdam police said in a statement. Three police officers were slightly wounded in the clashes, which broke out in the city center, according to police. One of the officers suffered a broken wrist, Dutch media reported.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte strongly condemned the violence during a debate on the Turkish offensive in parliament late Wednesday."You can demonstrate in this country, but we do it in a civilized manner," Rutte said. "Social conflict should be resolved by dialogue, and not by the images we have seen in Rotterdam. It's absolutely unacceptable."

This is not the first time Turkish civilians have been targeted by the PKK in Europe as whenever Turkey launches an operation against the terrorist groups, their supporters target innocent civilians across Europe by benefiting the lack of measures by European governments.

During Turkey's two previous cross-border operations against terrorist groups, PKK supporters attacked the Turkish community across Europe.

Turkey has long criticized the European authorities for tolerating PKK activities in the country and has pressured them to take stricter measures against the propaganda, recruitment and fundraising activities of the group.

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 deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

Despite its status as a designated international terrorist organization, the PKK has enjoyed relative freedom in European cities and has a particularly strong presence in Germany.

PKK supporters have been allowed to hold rallies, recruit militants and collect funds in Germany, which is home to some 5 million people with Turkish origin, including Kurds.

For instance, following the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in early 2018, the PKK supporters have attacked 13 mosques in Germany including Yeşil Mosque, Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Sultan Alparslan Mosque and Ulu Mosque. All of the mosques are run by the Germany branch of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB).

The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it is still active, with nearly 14,000 followers among the country's Kurdish immigrant population.

Apart from attacking the Turkish community, PKK supporters also held rallies in support of the terrorist group in several European capitals, including Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Cologne and other cities.

Greek protesters attack Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki

Other attacks targeting the Turkish community occurred in Greece and France. The Turkish Consulate General building in Thessaloniki, Greece, was attacked by a group of demonstrators yesterday. They were protesting Turkey’s counterterrorism operation in northeastern Syria.

The group, consisting of 11 people, reportedly entered the Turkish Consulate building as visitors and started to chant anti-Turkey slogans and held banners that read “Solidarity with Rojava.” Rojava is the name used by the PKK-linked terrorists in northeastern Syria to refer to the Syrian lands they occupy. The consulate’s security staff brought the protesters under control before removing them from the building under the supervision of the Greek police.

Greek news agency ANA-MPA later reported that the protesters were detained by the police. Meanwhile, members of several Greek leftist groups also arranged an anti-Turkey march in the Greek capital Athens, protesting Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.

In Lyon in France, PKK supporters painted on the walls of the Turkish Consulate.

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