DEN BOSCH (ANP) - Over two-hundred members of different Turkish, Kurdish and Dutch organizations protested in Den Bosch on Saturday against the meeting of the Turkish Federation Netherlands (TFN) in the Brabanthalle.
The organization previously said they expected at least four-hundred protestors. That the presence was significantly lower was blamed on the late permission by the city hall for the protest. The city hall gave this on Thursday as long as the protestors didn't walk to the Brabanthalle. According to the police the march was peaceful.
The protestors united in the January 5 Committee. Earlier they had sent a collective appeal to Den Bosch's municipality to have the meeting banned. The municipality and the management of the Brabanthalle allowed the annual congress to take place anyway.
The most important speaker at the TNF-congress was the Turkish vice-prime minister Davlet Bahceli, leader of the extreme-right Nationalist Action-party MHP, also know as the Grey Wolves. According to the committee the arrival of Bahceli has the character of a state visit. The MHP has been in the Turkish government since April 1999 and is against integration of the Kurdish part of the population.
According to Turkish law political parties are prohibited to have branches abroad. This prohibition is bypassed by not labelling this branch as a political but as a cultural organization. According to TFN the meeting in Den Bosch is therefore a politically neutral, cultural manifestation.
The protestors however claim that TFN is a cover organization for the MHP. The arrival of Bahceli seems to confirm this. Next to the vice-prime minister, prominent party-members like MHP-parliamentarian E. Öz and the Turkish MHP-Minister of Industry A. Tanrikulu were also invited to Den Bosch.
The National Security Service (BVD) noted earlier this year that the TNF is used by the Turkish government as an organization to attract the Turkish community in the Netherlands. The intelligence service warned that countries like Turkey try to gain control over foreign communities through mosques and political organizations. From those political contradictions are stimulated, says the BVD.