More rights for religious and ethnic minorities in Turkey

EU should impose embargo on arms deliveries (Press Release)

The Turkish invasion in Northern Syria has led to a mass exodus of more than 170,000 people and to an increasing destabilization of the region. Photo: STP

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has appealed to the European Union to use tomorrow’s EU-Turkey summit to demand an immediate withdrawal of Turkish soldiers and their allies from the region of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan. “The Turkish invasion has led to a mass exodus of more than 170,000 people and to an increasing destabilization of the region. Those who are terrorizing the people of Afrin by occupying the region must not be treated as credible dialogue partners,” explained Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Sunday. The human rights organization also demanded more rights for the religious and ethnic minorities in Turkey. The Christians, Yazidis, and Alevis must be granted freedom of religion. Turkish Kurdistan must finally be granted autonomy, and Kurdish must be accepted as an official language – next to Turkish – in order to strengthen peace and democracy in the region.

“However, reforms like this will probably not be possible as long as Turkey is still the world’s largest prison for detained journalists, mayors, parliamentarians, writers, and scholars,” Delius stated. “If the cooperation with Turkey is to be deepened, the many political prisoners will have to be released and the fundamental democratic rights must be respected. As long as the Erdogan regime continues to violate the freedom of the press, the freedom of expression, of assembly and organization, there is no basis for a deeper cooperation with Turkey,” Delius said.

“The EU should not only criticize the way the Erdogan administration is treating the issue of human rights. The deteriorating human rights situation in Turkey must have consequences as well,” the human rights organization stated. Thus, there should be no more police cooperation with Turkey, and the EU should issue an embargo for military equipment and security technology. Turkey is aiming to modernize its Leopard 2 tanks. This clearly shows how problematic the situation is. “Apparently, an according contract with the German company Rheinmetall was already negotiated five months ago – and, according to the German Federal Ministry of Economics, 31 arms exports to Turkey were approved between December 18, 2017, and January 24, 2018, alone. “In view of the fact that Turkey used German-built tanks to invade Afrin, EU must immediately stop all arms exports to Turkey,” Delius demanded.