EUTCC: Letter to HR/VP Josep Borrell II

On the occasion of the infomal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Berlin at the end of August, where relations with Turkey are on the agenda, we sent a letter to HR/VP Josep Borrell to draw the attention to the need for effective measures to counter the damaging policy of Turkey.

August 15 2020

Joseph Borrell
HR/VP of the European Commission
Rue de la loi 200 / Wetstraat 200
1040 Brussels, Belgium

Dear Mr. Borrell,

Some weeks ago, a meeting was held between the High Representative/ Vice-President of the European Commission and the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and a further meeting is scheduled for the end of this month. Turkey was the central topic at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in July. Before that, July 7, the EUTCC sent a letter to your office in which we respectfully hoped to draw your attention to the recent deplorable Turkish disregard for human rights, democracy and international law. With reference to the forthcoming meeting, we would like to make some recommendations for action.

In addition to increasing military activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Libya, as well as interventions in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Turkey has intensified its attacks on the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, contrary to international law. These have cost the lives of numerous civilians. Turkey is also militarily active in northern and eastern Syria, both directly and through jihadist militias. Compliance with international law must be enforced here as a matter of urgency. The European Union’s support and recognition of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, which is characterized by grassroots democracy, gender equality and ethnic and religious pluralism, would be an important step towards peace in the region.

However, peace is not possible without a political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey. Here, the European Union can and should play a key role. In talks with members of the Turkish Government, this important aspect needs to be given greater weight. A peaceful solution to the Kurdish question is directly linked to the democratization of Turkey. In addition to dialogue with the government, an exchange with the democratic opposition is indispensable, especially The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is massively affected by state repression. It is unacceptable that dozens of elected officials and hundreds of HDP functionaries are imprisoned and that elected officials are dismissed on a daily basis.

The issue of refugees also plays a key role in relations with Turkey. In the context of the European Union’s priority of combating the causes of flight, the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria is a reliable partner in the region.

The EUTCC urges the High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission, the European Union to use power by taking effective measures to counter the damaging policy of Turkey. We do not call for an end to dialogue but using that dialogue in a more focused manner in accordance with democratic values.
Respectfully yours,

Kariane Westrheim, Chairperson

Dersim Dagdeviren, Board Member

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