Inquiry into disappearance amid Turkish anger

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 March 2006, BRUSSELS — Interior Minister Patrick Dewael and Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx have ordered an investigation into the disappearance of Turkish militant Fehriye Erdal.

2 March 2006

BRUSSELS — Interior Minister Patrick Dewael and Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx have ordered an investigation into the disappearance of Turkish militant Fehriye Erdal.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference late Thursday afternoon in Brussels after Dewael cut short a holiday to quell the mounting crisis.

Both ministers had earlier issued a joint statement on Wednesday night confirming the Belgian security service had lost track of Erdal on Monday night. The Turkish woman had been under intensified surveillance at the time.

Erdal was then convicted in absentia by Brugge Court on Tuesday for links to the left-wing militant group DHKP-C and sentenced to four years jail.

Turkey has reacted angrily to her disappearance and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül urged Belgium on Thursday to do everything possible to track Erdal down.

"I am certain that Belgium will question itself [about the matter] and must itself find an answer," he said.

The Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Ciçek was harder, claiming that Turkey is criticised more severely for issues that are less serious.

He said the disappearance was a stain on co-operative efforts against international terrorism.

Turkey is demanding that Belgium arrest Erdal and has lodged its third extradition request.

Accused in Turkey of the murder of a businessman, Belgian authorities have in the past refused to extradite Erdal because she is accused of a political offence.

However, Erdal and six other DHKP-C suspects were convicted by Brugge Court on Tuesday for weapon possession and possession of forged documents.

Two suspects were also convicted under Belgium's new tougher anti-terror laws and were given the maximum sentence. All suspects were given four to six-year jail terms.

However, the defendants are expected to appeal the court's ruling.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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