Four people have reportedly been injured outside the Turkish Consulate in Brussels after clashes between supporters and opponents of the Turkish Government. Some protesters chanted “Erdogan’s a fascist” and “release our friends”.
The clashes erupted as the Turkish diaspora take to the polls to vote in a controversial referendum that could see President Erdogan’s powers greatly expanded. Constitutional law experts from The Venice Commision, a European Council watchdog described the referendum as potentially ‘the road to autocracy’ and ‘a one-person regime’.
Three of the injured reportedly suffered stab wounds and one person is in a critical condition.
One protester announced:
“We have friends inside [the consulate]. If something, anything happens to our friends who are on duty on the ballot boxes, they [Turkish officials] have to know that we can bring the consulate crashing down on their heads.”
Turkish-European relations have been on rocky ground after the Turkish government’s attempt to rally support among ex-pats in Europe. Erdogan reacted furiously when Germany, the Netherlands restricted political rallies on their soil amid fears of growing tension.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned the violence, publishing on twitter: “The Belgian government has absolute zero tolerance for any spillovers from the Turkish referendum. I condemn the riots at the embassy in Brussels.”