Kurdish rebels urge protests after raids in Belgium
The separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party called Thursday for mass Kurdish protests in Brussels after Belgian police swooped on high-profile Kurds, an agency close to the rebel group reported.
ANKARA - "All Kurds living in Europe should come together in Brussels and mount actions of protest against this hostile attack," a statement carried by the Firat news agency said.
It urged protests also "in all parts of Kurdistan" -- a reference to Kurdish-populated regions in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.
The detention of senior Kurdish figures in raids on offices of Roj TV and other Kurdish groups in Brussels and other Belgian cities amounts to "state terror" aimed at "humiliating the Kurdish people", it said.
The statement was issued by KCK, an umbrella Kurdish group led by the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a separatist campaign in southeast Turkey in a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives since 1984.
Ankara has long urged a clampdown on Kurdish militants in Europe, saying that they are financing the PKK -- listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community -- through drug-trafficking, people smuggling and extortion.
Those detained in Belgium Thursday reportedly included Remzi Kartal and Zubeyir Aydar, known as top figures coordinating PKK activities in Europe. Both are former Turkish parliament members.
In October, the United States put Aydar on a list of "significant" drug traffickers, along with two other PKK leaders, saying that they were using drug smuggling to help fund the PKK.