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Pro-gov’t Sabah daily targets Dutch politician Yeşilgöz as an ‘enemy of Turks’

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A staunchly pro-government newspaper in Turkey has targeted Turkish-born Dutch politician Dilan Yeşilgöz in a video as “an enemy of the Turks” and a supporter of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Yeşilgöz’s name came to public attention in Turkey after she was elected leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) in the Netherlands earlier this week, with many news outlets portraying her as likely to become the next Dutch prime minister.

The video, which was posted online by the Sabah daily on Wednesday, purports to expose who the politician really is, claiming that she is an enemy of the Turks.

According to Sabah, Yeşilgöz, who was born in Ankara in 1977 and fled Turkey at the age of seven with her family in the aftermath of a military coup in the country in 1980, is notorious for her anti-Turkey attitude on a wide range of issues.

The daily said Yeşilgöz voted in the Dutch Parliament in 2018 to designate as genocide the mass deaths of Armenians in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, a claim strongly denied by Turkey.

Sabah also said Yeşilgöz supports the abolition of laws in Turkey that criminalize insulting “Turkishness” and the president, which are used to prosecute thousands of people, with the slightest criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan considered an insult.

Yeşilgöz’s “hostility towards Turks” has its roots in her past, according to Sabah, which claimed that her father, Yücel Yeşilgöz, is a member of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, and a close friend of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink, who covers Kurdish and political issues in Turkey for Dutch media, accused Sabah of again publishing fake news. She said Yeşilgöz is not an enemy of Turks and that her father was not a PKK member. Geerdink also said Yeşilgöz is not a candidate to become Dutch prime minister but the leader of a right-wing party.

Yeşilgöz’s father, a Kurd, was a member of left-wing trade union the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK) and was among the thousands who fled the country to avoid persecution following the bloody coup of 1980.

“Dilan Yeşilgöz, who supports the mission of her terrorism-supporting father, is also a big supporter of the LGBT community,” the daily also said in the video, referring to the politician’s pledge to fight for everyone’s freedom.

The daily said although Yeşilgöz vows to fight for the freedom of all, Muslims are an exception for her because “her first act when she became justice minister in the Netherlands was to ban the headscarf for female police officers.”

The daily was referring to an April 2022 ban introduced by Yeşilgöz, who became minister of justice and security in January 2022, that prohibits police officers’ wearing of religious items of clothing, such as headscarves, yarmulkes and crucifixes with their uniforms.

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