The Netherlands is on high alert after a number of Kurds were attacked and stabbed outside the Turkish consulate in Brussels while trying to cast their votes in a referendum on increasing the powers of President Erdoğan.
Supporters of the Islamist leader attacked and wounded multiple people a stone’s throw away from the office of the Belgian prime minister and the headquarters buildings of the European Union, according to reports.
Erdogan supporters stabbed 3 Kurds on their way to vote at Turkish Embassy in Brussels. https://t.co/fJSxcSEpVy
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) March 31, 2017
The Kurdish diaspora is largely opposed to increasing Erdoğan’s powers, with the authorities serving his administration being accused of using summary execution, rape, and torture against Turkey’s Kurdish population by the United Nations.
Consequently, supporters of the authoritarian president abroad seem intent on discouraging diaspora Kurds from participating in the referendum.
— EURACTIV Global EU (@eaGlobalEU) April 1, 2017
One of the victims, an elderly Kurdish woman, said she was pinned down and beaten in the street by a young man who stabbed her in the throat and under her arm.
“I was covered in blood,” she later said. “Like ISIS he had come to behead me.”
— Kom News (@KomNewsCom) April 1, 2017
The authorities in the Netherlands are on “high alert” after the violence in neighbouring Belgium, according to NRC Handelsblad. Large numbers of Netherlands-based Turkish citizens are expected at the De Scheg sports centre in Deventer, where some 30,000 will cast their ballots.
Hundreds of Turkish migrants rioted in the city of Rotterdam when the Dutch government prevented Turkish government ministers from attending rallies in the country, prompting Ergodan to denigrate the Dutch as “Nazi remnants”.
While some European countries, such as Sweden, caved in to Turkish pressure and allowed rallies to take place, others adopted the same position as the Dutch, prompting an angry response.
“I’m telling you Europe, do you have that courage? If you want, we’ll send the 15,000 refugees to you that we don’t send each month and blow your mind,” threatened interior minister Süleyman Soylu during the dispute.