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Turkey slams Belgian court's unacceptable decision on PKK

TURKEY SLAMS BELGIAN COURTS UNACCEPTABLE DECISION ON PKK

The Turkish Foreign Ministry slammed a Belgian court ruling which confirmed that PKK activities in Europe could not be classed as terrorism, via a written statement.

Turkey on Friday blasted as "unacceptable" a Belgian court ruling undermining the recognition of the PKK as a terrorist group.

A Belgian appeals court on Thursday upheld a ruling which said PKK activities in Europe could not be classed as terrorism.

For more than 30 years, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 people -- security forces and civilians alike -- including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.

The Belgian ruling is a yet another example of support for terrorist groups seeking to harm Turkey's security and interests, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

The decision "reveals once again the fact that Belgium is a weak link in countering terrorism in Europe and in the world," it said.

The legal fight over the mistaken ruling has not ended, and it could end up at another appeals court, the statement said.

"Turkey will also intervene as a third party in the appeal process against this unacceptable ruling," it stressed.

-CHARGES OF KIDNAPPING CHILDREN
Last year the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's office appealed a Brussels court ruling saying that PKK activities could not be classed as terrorism but as an "armed campaign".

Last November the court refused a prosecutor's request to send 36 alleged PKK members to a higher criminal court, saying an "armed campaign cannot be considered terrorist acts".

The decision was made despite the group being listed as a terrorist organization by the EU, the U.S., and Turkey.

The suspects are accused of kidnapping children from their families in Belgium and European countries, and sending them to Greece and Iraq for training.

They are also accused of forging documents and extorting businessmen.

Among those standing trial are Remzi Kartal and Zubeyir Aydar, accused of being senior members of the PKK's European arm. They were among PKK suspects arrested in March 2010 raids on 18 addresses across Belgium.

The court case began in October 2015 following an investigation that began in 2006.

Belgium has been criticized in the past for failing to act against the PKK.

Last August, the movement's supporters in Brussels were allowed to celebrate the anniversary of the terror group's first attack in 1984.

Five months earlier PKK sympathizers were allowed to set up tents outside EU buildings ahead of a Turkey-EU summit.

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