Brussels allows PYD congress
Güven Özalp - BRUSSELSThe Eighth Congress of the European wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara accuses of being an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was held in Brussels on Sept. 24.
The congress saw the attendance of around 700 participants, including suspected senior PKK figure Remzi Kartal and PYD co-chairs Salih Muslim and Asya Abdullah, as well as many others with alleged links to the PKK.
Posters of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and banners showing militants who were killed in clashes in Syria were hung in the meeting room.
In addition to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Greece’s Syriza, Ireland’s Sinn Fein and political parties in Germany and Sweden also reportedly sent representatives to the congress. Some relatives of foreign fighters who were killed in Syria during clashes also attended the congress.
PYD co-chairs Muslim and Abdullah said there would not be a resolution in the Middle East and Syria without the resolution of the Kurdish issue.
“We want a federal and democratic system where all cultures and identities can live freely in Syria,” they said.
Meanwhile, a separate event named “Kurdish Culture Week” was also held in Brussels.
The event had initially been held in 2014 but faced municipal disapproval. The municipality’s decision had been referred to court and the event was approved.
Relations between Brussels and Ankara have been tense recently amid Turkey’s reactions and warnings against PKK-linked organizations carrying out activities.
Turkey had previously delivered an official protest note to Belgium for allowing the PKK to set up a tent in Brussels, urging Belgian authorities to swiftly remove the tent to prevent the organization’s activities.