VIDEO: Humza Yousaf and Dundee councillor Nadia El-Nakla’s Turkey links spark angry Kurdish protest at Holyrood

Humza Yousaf and his Dundee councillor wife Nadia El-Nakla’s links to the Turkish regime sparked an angry protest from Kurdish demonstrators at Holyrood.

Demonstrators condemned the first minister for inviting President Erdoğan to Scotland when the pair met at COP28 last year.

Last week the SNP leader was forced to defend the decision and insisted Turkey was on a human rights “journey”.

The first minister’s brief meeting with President Erdogan in Dubai also sparked anger from the UK foreign office.

Meanwhile, Councillor Ms El-Nakla – who represents Dundee’s west end – attended a pro-Palestine event in Turkey after being invited by Mr Erdogan’s wife.

Emails show the SNP leader’s wife took a personal call from Turkey’s first lady ahead of the visit.

Protesters insisted there was “no excuse” for the first minister’s invite to President Erdogan and claimed it was a betrayal of Scotland’s Kurdish community.

Jenni Keasden, a campaigner with Scottish Solidarity for Kurdistan, said Mr Yousaf’s warm welcome to Turkey’s leader was an “insulting act”.

On Ms El-Nakla links to the regime, she said any increased ties between Scotland and Turkey were a worry.

She told us: “Any kind of increased diplomatic, relations, ties and friendlessness between Scotland and Erdogan’s government is concerning, yes.

Protester Jenni Keasden.
Nadia El-Nakla and Humza Yousaf. Image: Kenzie Gillies/DC Thomson

“I think the signs of increasing ties are obviously very worrying, but we have some faith that there can be a dialogue and we can do better than this.”

But she added: “I think it’s important not to get sucked into bashing or lambasting public figures. This is not about Humza Yousaf, and it’s not about his family.

“This is about what relationship Scotland as a nation wants to have with the rest of the world.”

Dozens of protesters held signs branding President Erdogan a dictator, and criticising Mr Yousaf.

The Kurds are a large ethnic community in the Middle East, spread across a number of countries including Turkey.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Image: Shutterstock

Many Kurds want their own independent state, which in Turkey has led to a long-running violent conflict with a number of successive governments.

Turkey has regularly been accused of human rights abuses against the Kurdish community within its borders.

In December, a Kurdish-born Glasgow SNP councillor said she was “disgusted” that her party’s leader had met with President Erdogan.

North East Green MSP Maggie Chapman was also at the protest.

She told us: “I and my Scottish Greens colleagues stand in solidarity with the people of Kurdistan.

“We condemn the blatant atrocities and human rights abuses that Kurds are facing at the hands of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government.”

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