Turkish nationalists have attacked and attempted to burn down a Kurdish cultural central in Belgium, with its chairman blaming the Turkish government for inciting the violence.
A procession of cars waving Turkish flags drove past the Kurdish Institute of Brussels late Thursday evening, throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at the building.
According to eyewitnesses, the attackers initially attempted to break in. When they failed, the Molotov cocktails were thrown at the exterior of the building, exploding on the street.
They allegedly shouted “Death to the Kurds”, “Damn PKK” and “Allahu Akbar”.
— Gilgo (@agirecudi) November 19, 2016
The institution has been attacked several times in the past, and even set on fire before. Violence between Kurds and Turks is increasingly common on European Street, with high levels of migration from the region and increased tension between the ethnic groups in Turkey and Kurdistan.
Speaking to the ANF Kurdish news agency, the chairman of the Institute, Derwich M. Ferho, implied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was partial responsible after he called for a crack down on ‘terrorists’ in Europe following the attempted coup in Turkey.
He said: “Hate sowing comments such as this one incited Turkish extremists in Brussels to engage in criminal activities.
“The latest attack is part of an increasing climate of threat and hatred against the Kurdish community, not only in Turkey but also in Belgium,” he continued.
“In recent weeks the Kurdish Institute in Brussels has received threats via social media and telephone, in which things were said such as ‘I hope there will be a genocide of Kurds’, and the Kurdish Institute’s website was temporarily taken offline after a series of orchestrated cyberattacks.”
In January of this year, Kurdish protestors stormed the Conservative Party headquarters (CCHQ) in Westminster, demanding the British government stop supporting the Turkish state which is “murdering” Kurds, “colluding” with jihadists and “Islamizing” Turkey.
In September last year, the last time tensions peaked in Turkey, there was a wave of bloody violence between Kurds and Turks on European streets.
Dozens were arrested and a bomb throw in Stockholm, Sweden; clubs, bottles and stones were used on the streets of Frankfurt, Germany; and two people died in Bern, Switzerland as the two ethnic groups “went to war”.