Meeting with far-right Turkish politicians was 'judgement error,' says Saint-Josse Mayor

Meeting with far-right Turkish politicians was 'judgement error,' says Saint-Josse Mayor
Mayor Emir Kir, a member of the Parti Socialiste, has twice met with Turkish politicians belonging to an ultranationalist, far-right party. © Belga

A Brussels mayor who spurred controversy for holding a meeting with Turkish politicians from a nationalist, far-right party has said the meeting was a "judgement error."

Saint-Josse Mayor Emir Kir deleted social media posts of the meeting he held in December with a group Turkish mayors, citing the "commotion" caused by the presence of two members of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

"I unequivocally confirm that this was a judgement error on my part," Kir wrote on Twitter, adding that he would be "more vigilant" in future occasions.

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The December meeting marked the second time Kir met with a member of the ultranationalist and euroskeptic party, following a 2018 trip to Turkey during which he met visited a mayor said to have links to the Grey Wolves, a youth group which has been described as neo-fascist and is often seen as the MHP’s youth militant wing.

The meeting, which Kir's cabinet said was arranged in the context of the mayors' visit to Brussels, organised by the EU, sparked outcry among Kir's Parti Socialist (PS), with one member saying it should never be accepted to "pleasantly" meet with the far-right.

"I value the values of the PS and condemn the extreme right in any form, anywhere in the world," Kir tweeted.

The encounter also prompted condemnation from followers of Kir on social media, with the mayor saying he would file a complaint with police over alleged death threats and "violent public attacks" made against him online.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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