First Kurdish Minister in Europe
by Roni Alasor
Brussels, 26 February 2017 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED) - Ms Zuhal Demir, a Belgium lawyer and politician with Kurdish origin has been nominated as Secretary of State for equal opportunities. Its first time that a Kurdish lady has been appointed as Minister in Europe.
Ms Demir, who is Alevi Kurd from Kurdistan Region in Turkey is member of the Belgian party N-VA. She has been elected as a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives since 2010, she was previously District Mayor in Antwerp city, latest from January 2013 to 2016.
Last Friday, as new nominated minister, Zuhal Demir swore the oath to King Filip at the Royal Palace with Belgium Prime Minister Charles Yves Jean Ghislaine Michel.
Zuhal Demir studied Law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. As new Federal Secretary of State for equal opportunities, people with disabilities, science policy and fighting poverty, Mrs Demir takes over the new career from her N-VA colleague Elke Sleurs.
Congratulations from Kurdistan Government
Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of Department of Foreign Relations of Kurdistan Regional Government, congratulated Ms Demir on her appointment and wished her success in this important portfolio.
Turkish reactions and fascist attacks
Parents of Belgium born Zuhal Demir immigrated to Genk from Kurdistan Region in Turkey (Dersim) to Belgium in 1970s. After her nomination, the Turkish ultra nationalists and state controlled fascists in Belgium attacked her because of her Kurdish background.
According a article by Alan Hope published in Flanders Today, Ms Demir has also received death threats because of her outspoken views on the oppression of Turkey on Kurds. Earlier this month, one man who had made threats was sentenced to six months in prison.