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Turkey's divided diaspora


brussels bureau

Turkey's divided diaspora

Divisions in the Turkish community in Brussels have been hardened by the referendum.

Tensions were already simmering following the attempted coup in Turkey last July.

A Gulenist living in Brussels, who didn’t want to be identified, said he’s faced threats over the last eight months.

“We were targeted by certain people,” he said.

“We were afraid because buildings were vandalized, and finally we were forced to close because there was a commercial boycott.”

Belgian police have recently recorded around 80 complaints against Belgians of Turkish origin, including death threats.

Kader Sevinç, from the main opposition party CHP, said: “Today we see that in Turkey there is enormous pressure on the NO campaign.

“The same pressure is put on the Turks who live in the heart of Europe.”

More than 100,000 Belgian-Turks were able to vote in the referendum, when European polls opened last month.

The ruling AKP party appears to have won most of their support.

Ruhi Açıkgöz from the AKP said: “Turkey is moving in parallel with European values, and the latest reform Turkey is trying to avoid the chaotic situation that happened or that might happen because of state dualism.

“It is the people who decide how they want to be governed. “

The number of asylum seekers in Belgium has exploded since the coup attempt last year.

Mustafa Kumral, from the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP, said: “The gap is widening between people, and this will inevitably create serious problems in the future.”

0150 In Brussels recent protests between supporters and opponents of the Turkish president have turned violent.

The vote in Turkey will take place on April 16.

brussels bureau

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