Belgium expels Turkish politician over 1915 events

Belgian parliament expels Turkish politician from her party for refusing to recognise 1915 events as ‘genocide’

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Turkish decent Belgian parliamentarian Mahinur Ozdemir was expelled from her party because she refused to recognise the 1915 events as a “genocide.”

Ozdemir said that following her refusal to attend a standing ovation to commemorate the 1915 events, a committee from her party, the Humanist Democratic Centre (CHD), expelled her on Friday.

Ozdemir, the first member of Belgian parliament wearing a headscarf, said there is no court order that enforces one to recognise the events as genocide.

Meanwhile, Benoit Lutgen, President of the CHD, said last week that any member of the party who denied what he called “the Armenian genocide” would be expelled from the party.

She said to Anadolu Agency that Lutgen wanted her to sign a communique recognising the 1915 events, otherwise she would be expelled from the party.

However Ozdemir replied him ‘’I stand by my opinion on this issue,’’ stressing that she will not give up and will stand upright for the right to freedom of expression.

"Unfortunately the Humanist Democratic Centre [Party] took a decision which is incompatible with humanism and democracy, and proved it does not harbour Europe’s fundamental value of freedom of expression," Ozdemir said.

Turkish nationals in Belgium say intolerance rises against different views of what happened in 1915.

Turkey and Armenia disagree on what happened during the events between 1915 and 1923. Armenians call it a “genocide” while Turkey refuses.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated many times that Turkey is ready to open historical archives over the 1915 events. He also said the military archives can be opened as well. However the Armenian diaspora didn’t welcome Erdogan’s invitation to examine the archives or his conciliatory remarks.

Turkey says that although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.

TRTWorld and agencies