Kurdish Journalism Day Attacks in Turkey, Belgium and France

Roj and Stêrk-branded microphones

An unprecedented attack on Kurdish people, particularly Kurdish journalists, has just taken place across multiple different countries. The Kurdistan Solidarity Network fully condemns these attacks and stands in solidarity with our Kurdish friends across all countries and territories. The voices of the Kurdish people will never be silenced, and we will amplify that voice in solidarity.

On the night of Kurdish Journalism Day, which falls each year on 22 April, and in the early hours of 23 April, at least four Kurdish television and media stations were raided by police across Belgium along with a Kurdish community centre and several houses in France, with a total of 6 arrests.

This took place at the same time as a number of journalists were arrested in Turkey, with their homes also raided. The detained journalists are reportedly restricted from seeing their lawyers.

Stêrk, Roj, Medya and Hevron news agencies were targeted in Belgium, and 9 journalists so far have been arrested in Istanbul, Ankara and Urfa.

Stêrk and Medya News have issued a joint press release and said the following in a press briefing:

The raid against Kurdish TV stations, carried out by the Belgian Federal Police, occurred without prior notification to our lawyers and company officials. In the late hours of the night, when nobody was in the building, police forcibly entered the offices, destroying broadcasting tools and press materials, notably computers. We condemn this unlawful and anti-democratic attack, which targeted our Free Media institutions, representing the voice of the Kurdish people. The timing of the raid, coinciding with Kurdish Journalism Day and the 126th anniversary of the Kurdish media, is particularly significant, marking a continuation of organized attacks against the Kurdish press – particularly since the Turkish police raided the homes of Kurdish journalists in Turkey at the same time

There is apparently a claim in the Belgian press that the raids there were carried out at the behest of France.

It is important to understand the significance of these attacks, especially as these media stations are operating out of Europe due to the extreme oppression of Kurdish language and culture in Turkey and other occupied parts of Kurdistan.

A demonstration was held outside the Belgian Embassy in London on the afternoon of 23 April in response to the attack on the Kurdish press. Representing the Kurdish People’s Assembly of Britain, protestor Ercan Akbal stated:

We condemn the raid and blockade against Stêrk TV and Medya Haber TV, the voice of the Kurdish people, carried out in the middle of Europe by the Belgian state, which talks about democracy and human rights and freedoms. They should immediately give up this anti-democratic attitude and stop intimidating Stêrk TV and Medya Haber TV, which are watched by the Kurds and millions of people.

At time of writing, additional protests have erupted in several European cities.

Please share and discuss this article widely, and if you would like to support your local solidarity group or set up your own then get in touch to find out more ways you can get involved.

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