A Belgian federal appeals court verdict declaring that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) cannot be considered a terrorist organization has angered Ankara, which called the decision “hypocritical,” according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
The Belgian Court of Cassation on Friday acquitted 36 suspects in a case related to the PKK activities in the country after nine years of proceedings.
Federal judicial authorities had requested that 36 individuals and companies be tried by a criminal court on charges of taking part in terrorist activity, the Kurdistan24 news website reported.
The Belgian appeals court, however, blocked prosecution against all those standing trial in the case, ruling that the conflict involving the PKK in Turkey is an “internal armed conflict” and, as such, the group cannot be considered a terrorist organization.
“Insufficient objections were found to be able to conclude that the PKK was guilty of terrorist crimes outside of the aforementioned conflict area,” the ruling stated.
The PKK, designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, has been waging a decades-long bloody insurgency in Turkey’s Southeast.
The ruling “exonerates a terrorist organization with ideological motives” and is especially egregious “as it comes from a country that presumes to lecture Turkey on the rule of law,” said a statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
“This decision is ideological and political. It is a hypocritical decision made by those who try to teach us law with fear,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter.