Around a dozen MEPs from a variety of political groups have met at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to agree the establishment of a Kurdish Friendship Group.
The aim is to provide a forum of support and discussion for issues of concern relating to the Kurdish people. It is anticipated that the group will be formally constituted at a future meeting in Brussels in October.
The MEPs voiced concerns at the situation in Turkey with regard to non-respect for fundamental rights and democratic principles. This follows the recent dismissal of elected mayors in several major Kurdish cities, and this will form part of debate on the situation in Turkey being held at the European Parliament this week.
Also in Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights is due to rule in the case of Selahattin Demirtas, a Kurdish political leader imprisoned in Turkey since 2016.
The proposal to establish a friendship group was welcomed by EFA MEPs François Alfonsi, Diana Riba and Jill Evans.
François Alfonsi MEP said:
"We welcome this proposal by MEPs to come together and establish a Friendship Group in support of the Kurdish people, and we are pleased to support this initiative.
"This is a critical time, particularly for Kurdish people in Turkey who are seeing their democratic rights undermined by a government which allows the dismissal of properly elected mayors just because of their political allegiance.
"The Turkish government's failure to respect the fundamental rights of the Kurdish people falls far short of the standards required of an EU candidate country.
"We hope to meet soon in Brussels to formally constitute the friendship group and provide a platform for MEPs to show support for the fundamental rights of the Kurdish people, in Turkey and elsewhere."