No blank check for President Erdogan

Restart must be conditional, based on the principle of human rights (Press Release)

There must be no blank check for President Erdogan. Germany and the EU must not support anyone who tramples on human rights and minority rights in Turkey, in Iraq, or in Syria. Header picture: unaoc via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), human rights must become the basic principle of the German-Turkish relations if the German Federal Government is willing to respond to Turkish President Erdogan’s offer to “restart” the intergovernmental relations. “There must be no blank check for President Erdogan,” stated Kamal Sido, the STP’s Turkey-expert, in Göttingen on Monday. It would turn out to be an “uncovered check”, as Erdogan has already been deceiving the people of Turkey as well as the European Union (EU) with empty promises concerning human rights for quite a while. As preconditions for a rapprochement with Ankara, it would be necessary for Turkey to release all political prisoners, to guarantee fundamental civil rights, and to take up peace talks with the Kurds.

According to the United Nations, at least 350,000 people have been driven away from their homes since the coup attempt in Turkey in July 2015 – most of them Kurdish people. The Turkish security forces killed 321 civilians, including 79 children and 71 women, and destroyed many houses. Approximately 15,000 members of the pro-Kurdish HDP party, executive staff members, mayors, and city councilors were arrested, with at least 7,000 remaining in custody. More than 120,000 civil servants, prosecutors, and judges were dismissed, including many academics who had signed a call for peace.

Germany and the EU must not support anyone who tramples on human rights and minority rights in Turkey, in Iraq, or in Syria, the human rights organization demanded. According to the STP, the Turkish army and its Syrian Islamist allies have expelled at least 300,000 Kurds, Yazidis, Alevis, and Christians from the Syrian-Kurdish region of Afrin since January 2018. At least 3,000 Kurds were arrested, and tens of thousands of radical Islamists settled in the region of Afrin. According to Sido, a complete withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Afrin would have to be one of the conditions for a restart in the German-Turkish relations.

Furthermore, Turkey should commit itself to respect international law. Thus, the Turkish military must stop its attacks on Kurdish, Yazidi, and Christian villages on the territory of neighboring Iraq.

Header picture: unaoc via Flickr