World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish community members gathered outside the Belgian Humanist Democratic Centre (CHD) party office in Brussels on Saturday to protest against its decision to expel Mahinur Ozdemir over her refusal to recognize the 1915 events.
"The decision by the Humanist Democratic Centre (CHD) to expel a member of the parliament, Mahinur Ozdemir, from the party because of her refusal to recognize the 1915 events is embarrassing," Suleyman Celik, chairman of the Union of European Turkish Democrats, said.
"No pressure, intimidation, threat and expulsion can prevent freedom of thought," Celik told reporters and dozens of Turkish nationals who gathered outside the CHD party to show support for Ozdemir.
"The decision to expel [Ozdemir] is not only a heavy blow against Mahinur Ozdemir, but also against the hundreds of thousands of [Turkish] Belgian citizens who share her views and who express their thoughts freely," he said.
"As a civil society which defends the freedom of speech, multiculturalism and pluralism, we [UETD] strongly condemn the CHD party," he added.
Ozdemir said she would continue her political career as an independent parliamentarian in Belgium.
Turkish nationals in Belgium have said there is a rise in intolerance against a different view of what happened in 1915.
During a rally event called "Listen to me also", around 3,000 Turkish nationals gathered in Brussels last week and protested the notion that parliamentarians from various countries, rather than historians, have voted to determine what is or what is not a genocide, in this case concerning the Armenian deaths in 1915.
Turkey and Armenia disagree on what happened during the events between 1915 and 1923. Armenia says that 1.5 million people were deliberately killed, while Turkey says the death toll is exaggerated and deaths were a result of relocations and civil strife.
Armenia has demanded an apology and compensation, while Turkey has officially refuted Armenian allegations over the incidents saying that, although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.Last Mod: 30 Mayıs 2015, 17:06