Monday, December 12, 2016

Collective and brutal punishment by Turkish authorities

Last week, human rights organisation Amnesty International released a shocking report regarding the situation in the eastern part of Turkey. Since there is no freedom of press in Turkey and foreign journalists are being excluded from the territories in the eastern part of Turkey, where many Kurdish people are living, there is hardly anything we know about the situation there. Thanks to this Amnesty report, we can learn how much the Kurdish citizens are suffering from the Turkish authorities who are violating their rights dramatically. In order to give the AK Party absolute power in every single part of the country, the areas where people have recently voted for the HDP are collectively punished. This leads to a situation where about half a million inhabitants are forced to leave their houses.

Amnesty states: ‘’On 11 December 2015, an indefinite 24 hour curfew was declared in six of Sur’s 15 neighbourhoods preventing people from leaving their homes even to buy essential food or medical supplies. Police reportedly used loudspeakers to order people to leave. Water and electricity were cut for extended periods, while homes were rocked by army shells and peppered with bullets.’’ [1]

After this forced displacement, many houses and cultural heritage sites have been bulldozed! According to Kurdish organisations like DemNed [2], complete villages have been bombed by Turkish air forces. The destroyed areas are completely locked down by Turkish soldiers. For survivors, it’s not even possible to bury their loved ones. This situation cannot be covered in the news, since there are no foreign correspondents in this area anymore. The very few journalists who were active in the Kurdish regions have been banned from entering the country of Turkey at all, like the journalist Frederike Geerdink.[3]

To give the persecuted and beleaguered civilians in Turkey a voice, European countries must listen to their stories and hold the Turkish government accountable for this inhuman situation. When the EU continues their EU-accession talks with Turkey, they are legitimatising these tragic and barbaric actions.