Socialist Left Party condemns Turkey’s violation of international law and human rights

The Norwegian Socialist Left Party (SV) held its congress in Oslo from 17 to 19 March and elected Kirsti Bergstø as its new chairperson. The congress of the SV, which has 13 deputies in the 169-seat Norwegian parliament, was attended by HDP European representative Devriş Çimen and HDP Germany co-spokesperson Leyla Imret on behalf of the HDP, as well as many other international guests. Leyla Imret gave a speech at the congress on behalf of the HDP. In her speech, she pointed out the upcoming elections in Turkey and the repression of the HDP. In her speech, Imret said: “The aim of the ban is to depoliticise the HDP. We are not without an alternative. The HDP has a key position in Turkish politics.”

At the SV Congress, a statement on Turkey was adopted by the delegates in a vote.

Socialist Left Party condemns Turkey’s violation of international law and human rights

Under President Erdoğan, Turkey has moved in an authoritarian direction where freedom of expression and freedom of association are constantly restricted. Turkish authorities have used anti-terror laws to imprison several leading journalists, human rights defenders, and political opponents on charges based on affiliation with terrorist groups or propaganda for terrorist organizations. Press freedom organizations have warned against a new law on disinformation that sets up extensive censorship and criminalization of journalism, and that it is a particularly worrying development in the run-up to the elections in May 2023.

According to Human Rights Watch, in 2022 the Turkish government has continued a campaign to criminalize the Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which holds 56 seats in the Turkish parliament. An indictment against the HDP taken out in the country’s constitutional court seeks to ban 451 politicians and party members from political activity for 5 years and to seize the party’s assets, which in practice could lead to a shutdown of the party just before the election. This joins the series of cases where parties that largely represent Kurds have been forcibly shut down and are part of the ruling party AKP’s nationalist policies that are particularly at the expense of ethnic and religious minorities.

In recent years, Turkey has pursued an aggressive foreign policy with military attacks and occupation of areas in Syria and Iraq that border Turkey. The attacks have been particularly aimed at the Kurdish population. Ongoing and widespread human rights violations against the civilian population by Turkish forces and Turkish-allied military groups in areas controlled by Turkey have been reported. According to a UN-appointed commission of inquiry, Turkey
has a responsibility to respect human rights and protect the civilian population in areas it controls in Syria. The commission concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Turkish attacks against Syria in the first half of 2022 constitute war crimes. Turkish attacks against targets in Syria in November 2022 killed at least 10 civilians and have led to a drastic deterioration of the humanitarian situation for the civilian population.

Erdoğan changed his political course in 2015 and since then has pursued an increasingly right-wing nationalist policy in order to secure a majority. This conservative turn has worsened the situation for Kurds, other minorities, women and queers. During the state of emergency in 2016-2018, a number of organizations were closed down. In 2021, Turkey
withdrew from the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women. Recently, Erdoğan has taken advantage of Turkey’s NATO membership and the serious security political situation in Europe to try to weaken the protection of human rights internationally.

SV condemns the repeated violations of international law and human rights committed by the Turkish authorities both against its own population and against the civilian population in neighboring countries. SV is deeply concerned about the constant restriction of freedom of expression and freedom of association in the country, and SV condemns the systematic persecution of journalists, human rights defenders and political opponents in Turkey. SV condemns the repeated attacks and occupation of areas in Syria and Iraq, which constitute a clear violation of international law.
With the Turkish authorities’ systematic violation of human rights, international solidarity becomes extra important. SV believes that Norway must provide humanitarian aid to the earthquake-affected areas and contribute to the reconstruction in both Turkey and Syria.

SV demands that the Norwegian authorities:
• Condemn the Turkish authorities’ use of anti-terror legislation to prosecute and imprison legitimate political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders.
• Uses diplomatic and public channels to pressure Turkey to release political prisoners, and to prevent an illegal shutdown of the HDP.
• Works actively to strengthen freedom of expression and freedom of organization in Turkey.
• Condemns the illegal Turkish attacks against targets in Syria and Iraq and the ongoing human rights violations against the civilian population in areas of Syria and Iraq controlled by Turkey.