Turkey has summoned the Belgian ambassador to complain about a tent set up by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Brussels near the venue of a summit between Ankara and the European Union.
Also on Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu complained to his Belgian counterpart over the phone, requesting that the tent be taken down.
The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey, which has an 18 to 25 percent Kurdish population.
The Ankara government, however, does not recognize the PKK and considers it a terrorist group, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan likening it to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists who are wreaking havoc in some parts of Syria and Iraq.
Over the past months Turkish military has been conducting offensives against PKK positions in the country’s largely Kurdish southern regions.
The operations began in the wake of a deadly July bombing in the southern town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The bombing prompted the PKK fighters, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, to react by attacking police and security forces.
The Ankara government has also been at loggerheads with Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) based in Syria, billing them as PKK allies.
Turkish armed forces have expanded their war well beyond the country’s borders, chasing PKK forces into northern parts of Iraq, while shelling Kurdish parts of Syria as well.
The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey recently estimated that 162 civilians have been killed in the restive regions placed under a government-imposed curfew since August 2015.
The three-decade conflict between the two sides has taken the lives of more than 40,000 people.