PR: Anti-Kurdish Policy from Turkey to Europe

After the local elections on 31 March – the AKP suffered significant losses – which this gave hope for political change. Several European politicians already saw the end of the era under President Erdoğan.

But the sad fact is that only three weeks later, Turkey intensified its attacks on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in violation of international law, this happened shortly before Turkish President Erdoğan’s visit there and in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and in parallel to German President Steinmeier’s visit to Turkey.

At the same time, the studios of the Kurdish TV stations Medya Haber and Sterk in Belgium were searched, while nine Kurdish journalists were arrested in Turkey. These attacks on press freedom are unacceptable. The Kurdish media landscape has played a key role in ensuring that opposition voices from Turkey were heard in the local elections.

Belgium has not yet drawn any conclusions from the attacks by Turkish fascists on Kurds in connection with the Newroz celebrations in March, which would be urgently needed.

We call on the European Union member states not to support Turkey’s anti-Kurdish policy. Freedom of the press and international law are universal values that must be protected and defended.

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

Instagram: @EUTCC1

Press Statement 01.04.2024

Turkey has voted against AKP & Erdoğan 
Turkey has voted. The people have decided against the AKP and its nationalist-Islamist allies. The CHP was able to extend its lead in numerous metropolises and claim new metropolitan areas for itself. In the Kurdish regions, the DEM party has reclaimed the trustees-lead municipalities and won new ones. Against the backdrop of 46,000 imported voters and massive repression, this is a remarkable success that clearly demonstrates the role the region plays in the country’s democratic transformation.
The role of the DEM Party with regard to gender equality must also be emphasised in this context. The party ran nationwide with co-candidates. In Batman – the city was considered a stronghold of the Islamist Hüda-Par – candidate Gülistan Sönük achieved a nationwide metropolitan record with 64.48%.
A democratic transformation process can be initiated only if the causality between the democratisation of the country / region and a political solution to the Kurdish question is seen. The CHP should seize this opportunity.
But Europe also has a role to play. The Council of Europe must draw conclusions from the irregularities in the elections. It is also important that the success of the CHP and DEM party is recognised equally. If the focus is increasingly placed on the CHP and the Kurdish cause is ignored, democracy will remain wishful thinking.
The European Union must increase the pressure on Erdoğan. The only way out is to return to the negotiating table with the Kurds. This also requires an immediate end to the incommunicado detention of Abdullah Öcalan. The European institutions also have a responsibility here.
EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission

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