Statement: Election in Turkey

Dear Sir or Madam,
Please find attached our statement regarding the run-off election in Turkey.
If you need further information, don’t hesitate to contact us. 
Kind regards 
Prof. Kariane Westrheim EUTCC Chairperson 

Statement on the run-off election in Turkey
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was declared the winner of the run-off election, which was neither free nor fair. He won by a narrow margin. His challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu achieved very high vote shares especially in the Kurdish provinces, despite the deep nationalist tones. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and The Green Left Party (YSP) had called for his election in order to pave a way out of autocracy.
European heads of state and government did not wait to congratulate Turkey and to express their hope for good cooperation, as did Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. The restraint in the run-up to the elections already indicated that people were prepared for Erdoğan to carry on as usual.
What the country’s politics will look like in the future was hinted at in Erdoğan’s speech after the election. “It is not possible for him [Selahattin Demirtaş] to get out of prison under our rule.” He will not care about European court rulings in the future either. He will also make the refugee agreement paid even better. The entire Middle East will continue to be marked by instability. An end to the expansive foreign policy is not in sight.
A clear stance is needed from Europe and its institutions for the opposition, which has fought for change despite the strongest repression. Turkey’s policy under Erdoğan must not remain without consequences. If judgments of the European Court of Human Rights continue to be disregarded, the Council of Europe must take the necessary measures for violation of the convention.  

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission

Press release

Wave of arrests in Turkey

Police raids took place in several cities today. More than 150 people, among them numerous journalists, lawyers and politicians were arrested. This marks a new and worrying stage in the election campaign, showing that Erdoğan’s AKP-MHP coalition is using all means to stay in power. Especially the Kurdish and the democratic electorate are the focus of the attacks.

Precisely these circles – the Green Left alliance with the HDP – are decisive for the outcome of the elections and thus also for the imperative need to vote out President Erdoğan and his AKP-MHP coalition.
These repressions are unacceptable and require a clear response from the European Union and the European institutions. The Council of Europe, which will accompany the elections with a 40-member delegation led by Social Democrat Frank Schwabe, must take the above aspects into account.
The EUTCC calls on the Council of Europe and the European Union to take a position without delay. The Council of Europe must adapt its plans for election observation accordingly.

Prof. Dr. Kariane WestrheimEUTCC Chairperson
Dersim DağdevirenEUTCC Board member

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission

Statement on Turkey’s cross-border military offensive

From Ukraine to the Middle East – Combating of Violation of International Law everywhere 

Turkey launched another large-scale military offensive in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on the evening of 17 April. Attacks on northern Syria also continue. 

Turkey claims that its attacks are directed against the PKK. The occupation of Syrian territory in particular reveals the true character of its expansive foreign policy which in reality is anti-Kurdish. By taking the attention away from the country’s economic decline the AKP-MHP coalition under President Erdoğan try to make up for the population’s growing dissatisfaction with their policy. Erdoğan is trying to distinguish and position himself against the backdrop of geostrategic interests both of his own country and of NATO, Ukraine and Russia. 

In the context of the military offensive, reference should also be made to the US human rights report, which states that Turkey accepts the death of civilians in the fight against the PKK. 
Criticism from the international community is not to be expected. In the past, too, silence prevailed in the context of the NATO partner’s violence of international law. The maximum reaction was the expression of concern. 
The war in Ukraine is both a reminder and a call to outlaw and combat war crimes and violations of international law immediately and everywhere. 

We strongly condemn Turkey’s cross-border military offensive. The international community is called upon to take a clear stand on the side of international law in this war as well and to impose appropriate sanctions immediately. 

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission

EUTCC commemorates Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the prominent Anglican church leader, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1984), and guardian of humanity, died at Christmas. The whole world mourns him who from a young age has tirelessly served the world, human rights, and human dignity. Desmond Tutu appeared on the world stage when he fought against the apartheid regime in South Africa – never with weapons, but with a tireless call for dialogue and reconciliation. He became Nelson Mandela’s close friend and ally, even though they did not always agree on how to resolve political conflicts. However, as the president of the free South Africa Mandela appointed Tutu to be the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa.

Desmond Tutu was direct with those he had something unspoken with, did not hide what he meant, it was never about who he talked to, but about what he had to say. He enjoyed talking freely with people on the street, as he also did in front of world leaders – this made him both loved and feared. Desmond Tutu became a true friend and supporter of the Kurdish people. He was the first patron of the EUTCC and in 2012, Desmond Tutu issued an international call for the Resumption of Dialogue where he urged Turkey to resume the peace talks with the Kurds and the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey. The petition was signed by former heads of state and prominent figures like His Holiness Dalai Lama, Jimmy Carter, Jose Ramos-Horta, Gerry Adams and Kjell Magne Bondevik.

Desmond Tutu showed a boundless understanding and solidarity with people in the middle of the struggle because he had stood there himself. On the other hand, he showed no understanding for heads of state who were indifferent in the encounter with the world’s problems and political conflicts, or who failed to speak out when injustice was committed. For him, it meant lining up with the enemy. For the Kurds, who are still silenced by the international community, Desmond Tutu put peace on the agenda and became a mouthpiece for resumption of dialogue and peace talks.For the EUTCC Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will forever be remembered as a bauta in the service of humanity and a faithful supporter of the Kurdish cause on the world agenda.

His boundless love for those who suffered under oppressive regimes, such as the Kurds, is a reminder never to give up on change for a better society for all.The EUTCC will remember Archbishop Desmond Tutu with joy and gratitude and in his memory, there is hope and future optimism. Although the Kurds in many ways still face closed doors internationally, Desmond Tutu has managed to open some of them slightly.

We light peace over Desmond Tutu’s memory!

On behalf of the EUTCC boardKariane WestrheimChairpersonDersim DagdevirenBoard member

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission

Statement The Turkish army offensive on the territory of the KRG

Press Release1 June 2021For immediate release 

The Turkish army offensive on the territory of the Kurdistan Regional Government

40 days ago, the Turkish Armed Forces launched another large-scale military offensive against the territory of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – Iraq. Turkey’s military attacks represent a breach of the country’s sovereignty and can only be described as an occupation of KRG-Iraq. Since the 1990s, there have been repeated cross-border attacks by the Turkish army. In the meantime, Turkey has established 47 military bases in the region. 

In the wake of these attacks several villages have been looted and destroyed, leaving behind hundreds of dead civilians, while thousands have fled the catastrophic attacks or have been displaced from their hometowns.   
Considering Turkey’s aggressive expansionist policy in the region, the interventions in northern Syria must not go unmentioned and unconsidered. With its policy, Turkey is a central factor and actor of instability in the Middle East. 

As EUTCC, we strongly condemn this military offensive and occupation, which is contrary to international law. 

However, we would especially like to express our disappointment that these military activities of Turkey, which clearly violate international law, are silently accepted by the European institutions. The EU, which is committed to international law, must introduce any sanctions, especially those concerning the military sector and those responsible, and immediately put an end to Turkey’s aggressive war policies in Kurdistan.

Prof. Kariane Westrheim EUTCC Chairperson 
Dersim Dağdeviren EUTCC Board member  

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission