The French-speaking socialist party PS has stripped St-Josse mayor Emir Kir of the party whip, after he held a meeting with a delegation of mayors from Turkey, including some members of a far-right party.
Kir, who is himself of Turkish origins, received a group of Turkish mayors in his office in Saint-Josse in December. The mayors were in Brussels for a meeting of the EU’s Committee of the Regions, and arranged the visit as a courtesy call to the capital’s most prominent Turkish politician. Two of the group were members of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which has links to the ultra-nationalist far-right group, the Grey Wolves.
Kir later admitted the meeting was “an error in judgement”. “I value the values of the PS and condemn the extreme right in any form, anywhere in the world,” Kir tweeted.
His case was brought before his party’s disciplinary committee, which later issued a statement. “The federal disciplinary committee has concluded that the breach of the cordon sanitaire around a party of the extreme right was incompatible with the status of a member of the PS,” the party’s Brussels federation said in taking note of the ruling.
Kir himself issued a statement on Twitter.
“In life, we may run away from everything, except our conscience. Today, as at the start of my political engagement, mine is at peace. I am proud of all I have achieved in the service of the people. My disappointment in the party is profound, but my socialist ideals are intact. Out of respect for the procedure, I have exercised the greatest discretion, but it has not been easy. On that matter, I regret that certain people within the party have not had the same decency, and that my trial has already taken place in the public domain.”
And he concludes with an emotional appeal.
“I am far from being the caricature I have been made out to be. I am a man of the left, a man of conscience and a man of action. My record at the local and federal level pleads in my favour. It demonstrates more than adequately my absence of any sympathy with the extreme-right. I have devoted my life to fight it, to work for more social justice, and to act to serve the people.”