Several hurt in clashes at Turkey's Brussels consulate

Turkish expats have started to cast their ballots in the country's constitutional referendum amid increasingly strained ties between Turkey and Europe, home to an estimated 2.5 million eligible Turkish voters.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A woman votes in the referendum on Turkish constitutional reforms in the Turkish consulate in Huerth near Cologne, Germany. March 27, 2017.

Updated Mar 31, 2017

Several people were injured and taken to hospital after supporters and opponents of the Turkish government clashed outside the country's consulate in central Brussels on Thursday, Belgian police said.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned the violence, which he linked to a forthcoming referendum in Turkey. The referendum allows Turkish citizens to accept or reject the move from the current parliamentary system to a presidential system.

"The Belgian government has absolute zero tolerance for any spillovers from the Turkish referendum. I condemn the riots at the embassy in Brussels," he said on Twitter.

A police spokeswoman said she could give no further details on the number of people hurt or the nature of their injuries.

The Turkish mission to Brussels could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ties between Turkey and European Union states have deteriorated in recent weeks over the Turkish government's attempts to rally support for the upcoming referendum among expatriate Turks.

Turkey criticised EU states after Germany and the Netherlands - which, like Belgium, have a sizeableTurkish population - restricted political rallies on their soil in the run-up to the April 16 referendum.


TRTWorld and agencies