Soldiers accuse MP of inciting hatred by calling civilian casualties in Iraq airstrikes 'murder'

Selcuk Ozturk (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Partij van de Arbeid)Selcuk Ozturk (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Partij van de Arbeid)

Over 600 soldiers and veterans are pressing charges of inciting hatred, insult and defamation against DENK parliamentarian Selcuk Ozturk. The pro-diversity parliamentarian described the civilian casualties of Dutch F-16 airstrikes in the fight against terrorist organization ISIS in 2015 as "murder" during a parliamentary debate on the matter on Tuesday, Hart van Nederland reports.

Lawyer Michael Ruperti is pressing the charges against Ozturk on behalf of the soldiers and veterans. According to the lawyer, Ozturk insulted air force pilots by insinuating that they were murderers, and his statements can also make extremists think that revenge is justified. 

The debate regarded two airstrikes involving Dutch F-16s  in Iraq in 2015. A total of 70 people were killed during an airstrike on an ammunition factory in Hawija. And four people were killed in an airstrike on a home in Mosul. In both cases the Dutch pilots had incomplete or incorrect information, Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense informed parliament on Monday

During the debate in the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday, Ozturk accused former Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of "hiding bodies" by not revealing the civilian casualties when she found out about them in 2015. And he said that the Dutch pilots were "responsible for murders". 

Kamer president Khadija Arib and almost all the other parliamentarians present immediately reprimanded Ozturk for these statements and asked him to take back his words. But he refused, saying that the victims' surviving relatives also speak of murders. 

The DENK parliamentarian now told Hart van Nederland that his statements were misunderstood. He wants to "straighten out" that he did not mean that Dutch pilots "knowingly killed people". "I didn't say that", he said. He was trying to express the feelings of the victims, he said. He would like to meet with the pilots and explain what he meant, Ozturk said.