Coppieters foundation expresses solidarity with Kurdish peoples following attack on Kurdish Institute of Brussels

Centre Maurits Coppieters has expressed its profound solidarity with the Kurdish community in Belgium and throughout Europe, as well as the team at the Kurdish Institute of Brussels, our associated member, following an attempted arson attack on their offices on Thursday 17th of November 2016.

Such attacks, accompanied by threats on social media and cyber-attacks on their website, are sadly emblematic of the kinds of challenges and dangers activists face in their line of work. Fully understanding the difficulties our partners endure daily at the Kurdish Institute of Brussels, as well as other pro-democracy organisations and activists, Centre Maurits Coppieters has reaffirmed its internationalist solidarity with the Kurdish people and our member institute.

President Erdogan has used the July 2016 coup attempt as a pretext to wage an anti-Kurdish and anti-opposition campaign with mass arrests, dismissals of civil servants, shut downs of language schools and closures of media outlets, while Kurdish towns have been burnt and destroyed with alarming impunity. The Kurdish people have undergone a systematic assault on their democratically-elected local governments based on an emergency rule decree passed in September 2016, which grants the Ministry of Interior the power to appoint trustees to replace elected co-mayors.

Since the establishment of our foundation, we have spotlighted the Kurdish struggle in numerous ways, through debates, studies and communication campaigns. This has included a series of debates organised with Fundación Galiza Sempre and Eyyup Duru, the European Liaison of the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, on peace and freedom in Kurdistan; a dinner debate with keynote speaker Mr. Hassan Qazî, a journalist specialised in Middle East; a conference on the civil war in Syria; a publication outlining the 35 years of efforts by Maurtis Coppieters and other Flemish politicians, such as Bart Staes, Nelly Maes, Willy Kuijpers and Jaak Vandemeulebrouke to support the Kurdish struggle at the national, federal and European level.

As the political situation in Turkey continues to deteriorate, Centre Maurits Coppieters remains steadfastly committed to the principles of inter-cultural dialogue, collective rights, democracy, rule of law and peace. Our foundation will continue to support the struggle for democratic freedom, participation and engagement. “We will continue our work with unabated determination to demand that European institutions give a strong response in favour of democracy, individual and collective rights for all within a free and fair society without fear or censorship,” noted Coppieters foundation President Xabier Macias.