After Germany and Belgium, Turks protest France for ‘supporting terrorism’

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A man gestures as protestors shout slogans against France during a demonstration in front of the French embassy in Ankara, on November 11, 2016. Protestors accuse France's governement to support terror groups in Turkey. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

A group of protesters gathered in front of the French Embassy in Ankara on Saturday in reaction to alleged Western support for terrorist groups in Turkey.

The protest, following similar ones against Belgium and Germany, came after several Western ambassadors in Turkey attended the parliamentary group meeting of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) following the arrest of nine Kurdish deputies early in November.

Protesters gestured and held Turkish flags during the demonstration in front of the French Embassy while accusing France of supporting terrorism.

Also on Saturday, relatives of martyrs and veterans staged a protest against Austria over the country’s attitude towards Turkey and terrorism outside the Austrian Embassy in Ankara.

Reactions in Turkey mounted after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly accused Germany of harboring terrorists for support given to exiled journalist Can Dündar and Germany’s announcement welcoming political asylum applications by victims of an ongoing purge in Turkey. Over 110,000 people have been dismissed from government positions as a result of a witch-hunt, while more than 36,000 have been arrested.

In Turkey, demonstrators also protested the decision of a Brussels criminal court which ruled that charges against persons alleged to have engaged in activities with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) cannot be classified as terrorism since the acts were part of an armed conflict.

The court heard a case involving 36 people accused of membership in a terrorist group and carrying out terrorist activities and decided that the PKK’s activities cannot be described as terrorism but rather an “armed campaign.”

Tensions between the West and Turkey are rising as Erdoğan constantly accuses the West of undermining the country’s development and supporting terrorists. In Erdoğan’s lexicon, the peaceful Gülen movement is also a terrorist organization despite the lack of any court verdict to that effect.

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