Several people were injured and taken to hospital after supporters and opponents of the Turkish government clashed outside the country’s consulate in central Brussels on Thursday (30 March), Belgian police said.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned the violence, which he linked to a forthcoming referendum in Turkey on increasing the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
#Begov prône la tolérance zéro pour les débordements en lien avec le référendum turc. Je condamne fermement les violences devant l'ambassade
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) March 30, 2017
Bruxelles: La police a separe Turcs et Kurdes devant l'ambassade de Turquie (vidéo). https://t.co/Hr30sLH0DF via Belgabox
— Pierre-Yves Lambert (@tractotheque) March 30, 2017
“The Belgian government has absolute zero tolerance for any spillovers from the Turkish referendum. I condemn the riots at the embassy in Brussels,” he said on Twitter.
A police spokeswoman said she could give no further details on the number of people hurt or the nature of their injuries. The Turkish mission to Brussels could not be immediately reached for comment.
Ties between Turkey and European Union states have deteriorated in recent weeks over Turkish government attempts to rally support for Erdoğan among expatriate Turks.
— Marcel Sel (@marcelsel) March 30, 2017
Erdoğan reacted with fury after Germany and the Netherlands – which, like Belgium, have big Turkish minorities – moved to restrict political rallies on their soil in the run-up to the 16 April referendum.
— Claude Moniquet (@ClaudeMoniquet) March 30, 2017
Kurdish news agency Firat said the Thursday incident took place as people arrived at the consulate in Brussels to cast early ‘no’ votes in the referendum. Reuters was not able to confirm that independently.