EU member states remain silent for weeks on the escalation of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey
The Kurdish conflict in southern Turkey is escalating and once again Turkish security forces are proving to be more a part of the problem than an anchor for safety and security. Seven people were killed in yesterday’s protests co-organized by the HDP in Sur and around Diyarbakır. We condemn, in the strongest terms, this strategy of taking action against protests which are only calling for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. We call on the Turkish government to end its civil war against the PKK.
Martina Michels said: ” EU member states should finally face up to their responsibility and urge President Erdoğan to return to the peace process. This also includes no longer criminalising the peaceful opposition, regaining a fair and critical media coverage and submitting an offer of reconciliation to the militant forces within the PKK. After all, the PKK plays a crucial role in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (Daesh) outside of Turkey.”
For Marie-Christine Vergiat: “The situation in Diyarbakır is emblematic of the systematic crackdown on this part of the country. Well over 50 curfews have been imposed on more than 1.3 million people from seventeen Turkish cities. Instead of taking this and the 2015 Turkey report into account, the EU and its member states rolled out the red carpet to Mr Erdoğan. It is high time to change the paradigm to prevent the conflict from escalating into a fully-fledged civil war, and to establish a dialogue which would lead to the genuine peace process that the entire population of Turkey is striving for.”
Josu Juaristi Abaunz added: “It’s not only that the EU member states remain silent about the brutal repression by the Turkish security forces against the Kurdish people; with its agreements and its full support to Erdoğan, the EU is legitimising the death of Kurdish people. All this, including the fact that Ankara is using the refugee issue to put pressure on the EU, should be taken into account by the EU”.
Takis Hadjigeorgiou concluded: “The escalation of the conflict in Turkey reconfirms the necessity for an urgent solution to the Kurdish issue and we should all make every effort to this direction. We remain firm in our position supporting the accession process of Turkey to the EU, a course that will lead to the transformation of the country and to its democratization. This democratization process should work in the interests of solving the problems of the Turkish people and the peoples of the region. Based on the above, we see the opening of negotiations on Chapter 17 by the Council as a “re-start” for the country’s accession process and we call on Turkey to respect, fulfil and meet all appropriate obligations of the negotiating Framework, including its obligations in resolving the Cyprus Problem. In the event that these obligations are not fulfilled, Cyprus will not accept the opening of any new chapters”.
Since mid-November the historical city in the Kurdish town of Diyarbakır, Sur, was cordoned off several times. Security forces fought with the inhabitants because the municipality had proclaimed self-government. For days the residents had no knowledge of what was happening in other parts of the city behind the ancient walls. Shortly before the elections on 1st November the extent of destruction was obvious: mosques and the community centre were destroyed.
Correspondingly high was the number of security squads on the election day. A GUE/NGL delegation observing these elections repeatedly asked the security forces to leave the polling stations so citizens could freely go to vote.
On 2nd November the delegation was in the Kurdish region for an interview with human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi of the Diyarbakır Bar Association. He was shot dead on 28th November 2015. To date, neither the bomb attack of 5 July 2015 nor the appalling attacks in Suruç and Ankara before the November elections have been sufficiently elucidated.