"Ban Turkish political campaigns in Belgium" Author: Michaël Torfs

Belga
Sun 05/03/2017 - 12:23 Michaël Torfs The leader of the Flemish nationalist fraction (N-VA) in Federal Parliament, Peter De Roover, is urging fellow politicians to introduce a ban on political campaigns for Turkish leaders in Belgium. De Roover is responding positively to a request uttered by the Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, who is pressing for a ban in the whole of the EU. "His suggestion deserves all our support". This ban has already caused angry Turkish reactions abroad.

Kern wants a ban for the whole of the EU, to avoid that countries that already forbid Turkish election campaigns (such as the Netherlands and Germany) are being put under pressure by the Turkish authorities.

Members of the Turkish government have planned various campaign meetings across the EU in the run-up to a Turkish referendum on 16 April that would change the Turkish constitution, handing president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers, and weakening the national parliament. Various Dutch, German and Austrian cities anticipated by proclaiming a ban, triggering outrage with the Turkish authorities.

Peter De Roover thinks it would a good idea for Belgium to introduce a general ban. He is afraid the meetings of Erdogan supporters will cause extra tension, which could lead to riots. "We've already seen Turkish political meetings here. This is a concern, because we fear that present tensions in Turkey could be imported into Belgium in this way. This is something we should definitely avoid. Kern's suggestion for a general European ban, deserves all our support."