ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Around a dozen MEPs from a variety of political groups met at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday to agree on the establishment of a Kurdish Friendship Group.
The group’s goal is to provide a forum of support and discussion for issues of concern relating to the Kurdish people across all four parts of the Greater Kurdistan.
The group is expected to be formally constituted at a future meeting in Brussels in October.
The MEPs voiced concerns about the situation in Turkey regarding the Turkish government’s nonadherence to fundamental rights and democratic principles.
The European office of Plaid Cymru, a party representing Wales, wrote on Twitter that the announcement comes one day ahead of a hearing at the European Court of Human Rights for Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed former co-chair of Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“We call for the immediate release of Demirtas, and stand in solidarity with the Kurdish community,” the tweet read.
Today @JillEvansMEP was part of establishing the EP Kurdistan Friendship Group. This is ahead of tomorrow’s @hdpdemirtas hearing in the European Court of Human Rights. We call for the immediate release of #Demirtas, and stand in solidarity with the Kurdish community ✊️ pic.twitter.com/KKX4udmg5a— Plaid Cymru Ewrop (@PlaidCymruEwrop) September 17, 2019
The move also follows the recent dismissal of elected HDP mayors in several major Kurdish cities. The group will form part of a debate on the situation in Turkey being held at the European Parliament this week.
In a motion for a resolution on Tuesday, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ERC) called on Turkey to reinstate the removed Kurdish mayors.
The proposal to establish a friendship group was welcomed by European Free Alliance (EFA)MEPs Francois Alfonsi, Diana Riba, and Jill Evans.
HDP co-chair Sezai Temelli also attended the meeting on the creation of the new group.
“We welcome this proposal by MEPs to come together and establish a Friendship Group in support of the Kurdish people, and we are pleased to support this initiative,” Alfonsi said.
“This is a critical time, particularly for Kurdish people in Turkey who are seeing their democratic rights undermined by a government which allows the dismissal of properly elected mayors just because of their political allegiance.”
He added that the Turkish government’s failure to respect the fundamental rights of the Kurdish people falls “far short of the standards required of an EU candidate country.”
The MEP stated that the friendship group would “provide a platform for MEPs to show support for the fundamental rights of the Kurdish people, in Turkey and elsewhere.”
The group is not the only pro-Kurdish one within the European Parliament. In 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Mission to the EU created the European Friends of Kurdistan. The group’s main objective is to increase awareness about Kurdistan in the EU and to enhance KRG-EU relations.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany