Saint-Josse mayor targeted by death threats after meeting far-right Turkish politicians

Saint-Josse mayor targeted by death threats after meeting far-right Turkish politicians
Mayor Emir Kir, a member of the Parti Socialiste, has twice met with Turkish politicians belonging to an ultranationalist, far-right party. © Belga

The mayor of Saint-Josse will file a complaint with police after receiving death threats through social media over a meeting he held with far-right Turkish mayors.

Mayor Emir Kir took to Facebook to denounce an “outpouring of hatred” on his social media profiles following an encounter he held in the Saint-Josse city hall with Turkish politicians.

The mayor said that the “violent public attacks” made against him on social media went “beyond common understanding,” highlighting, in particular, one commenter’s post who Kir accused of calling for him to exit his official functions in a coffin.

“It is clear that the intention of this online hate-preacher is not to wish the elected official a long career but, on the contrary, to make him exit the political scene in a brutal manner,” Kir wrote on a Facebook post.

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Kir said the mayors were in Brussels as part of a visit organised by the European institutions, but the encounter caused controversy after it was revealed that two of the mayors invited belong to a far-right Turkish ultranationalist party.

Both mayors are members of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a fiercely nationalist and euroskeptical party with close links to the Grey Wolves, a political youth group which has been described as neo-fascist.

Emir KIR, Bourgmestre socialiste de Saint-Josse-ten-Noode s’insurge contre un appel au meurtre lancé à son encontre et…

Posted by Emir Kir on Monday, December 30, 2019

The encounter, which marked the second time Kir met with politicians of the Turkish far-right, also sparked opposition within the ranks of his Parti Socialiste (PS), with one party member calling for a special committee to question Kir over the meeting.

In the Facebook post, Kir said that the comments and accusations made against him constituted a “witch hunt” and said he denounced the “incitement to hatred” that it provoked.

“[Kir] firmly condemns the extreme-right, in all its forms and in all places, be it across the world, in Belgium, in Turkey, or elsewhere!!” he wrote.

Ahead of his appearance before the PS’ internal surveillance committee, Kir also wrote that he firmly adhered to his party’s left-wing values and called on “its detractors” to “remain dignified and decent” when expressing criticism.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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