Human rights activists warn: Erdogan is not a trusted partner
Turkish President should set signs for democracy and human rights before he can visit Germany – Freedom for journalist and opposition leader Demirtas (Press Release)
From the viewpoint of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should only be able to visit Germany if he sets clear signs for democracy and human rights in his country. “Being one of the most prominent leaders of the Islamic world, Erdogan should only be welcome here if he decides to release imprisoned journalists and to put an end to the pre-trial detention of the Kurdish opposition leader Selahattin Demirtas,” criticized Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East Consultant, in Göttingen on Wednesday.
Currently, there are more than 100 journalists being held in Turkish prisons – and the Turkish media were forced into line. Anyone who dares to publish independent critical reports will risk his/her freedom. Demirtas is considered a symbolic figure of the Kurdish freedom movement and the peaceful democratic opposition. He has been in custody since November 2016. While in jail, he ran for the pro-Kurdish HDP party in the presidential election – and he received more than 4.2 million votes.
“Erdogan is trying to build up Turkish-nationalist and Islamic-fundamentalist structures in Germany as well,” Sido warned. “Thousands of imams are to be trained in Turkey and then sent to Germany, to the Alevi communities.” The Alevi community here follows liberal religious practices, with elements similar to Islam. They strictly oppose of having to follow a radical interpretation of the Koran.
“The ongoing serious human rights violations by the Turkish army and the Turkish-backed Islamists – including the displacement of Kurds, Yazidis, Alevis, and Christians, as well as torture and killings in the northern Syrian Kurdish Afrin – are reason enough to keep distance from Erdogan: he is not a trustworthy partner!”, Sido emphasized.
Headerpicture: Istanbul/Guido Menato via Flickr