Turkish citizens in the capital of Belgium protested the Belgian Humanist Democratic Centre (CHD) party on Saturday, slamming it for expelling its Turkish member Mahinur Ozdemir for not recognizing the 1915 events as ‘genocide’.
Chairman of the European Turkish Democrats, Suleyman Celik, told reporters ‘the decision by the CHD was ‘embarrassing’ and ‘heavy blow.’
“No pressure, intimidation, threat and expulsion can prevent freedom of thought,” he added.
Celik said they strongly condemn the CHD party as a civil community which defends the freedom of speech, multiculturalism and pluralism.
Mahinur Ozdemir was expelled from her party on Friday for not recognizing the 1915 events as ‘genocide’. She is also the first member of Belgian parliament wearing headscarf.
Ozdemir 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.
Ozdemir will continue her political career as a independent parliamentarian in Belgium.
Turkish nationals in Belgium say intolerance rises against differet views of what happened in 1915.
Turkey and Armenia disagree on what happened during the events between 1915 and 1923. Armenians call it ‘genocide’ while Turkey refuses.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated many times that Turkey wasready to open historical archieves over the 1915 events, military archieves as well. However, Armenian diaspora didn’t welcome Erdogan’s invitation to examine the archieves.
Turkey says that although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.