Relations between the EU and Turkey and the Kurdish question

In a context of a general shift of the current regime in power toward a system of oppression and violence, attacks on freedom of the press and human rights in Turkey that reached unprecedented levels, exceeding state violence at the time of the military coup of 1980, the appalling consequences of the state of war in the Kurdish region are deliberately concealed.
Those who have have criticized the mass killings committed with impunity against the Kurdish people, including academicians who ask for a political solution to the Kurdish question, which are systematically considered as threats to the integrity of the country, are in most cases repressed and prosecuted.

Policy of repression’s planning and its consequences

The triggering of these bloody events dates back to the pre-general election’s period of June 7, 2015, when the election polls predicted an automatic loss of the absolute majority of the AKP to Parliament following the participation of the Democratic Party of Peoples (HDP) as an independent party and not as an independent candidate and forecasts by the latter‘s exceeding anti-democratic threshold of 10% imposed by the military junta after the 1980 coup.

Considering the high probability of this success, the AKP government had already planned the establishment, before the elections of June 7, of strategies of violence to thwart the electoral success of the HDP. To this end, the regime of the AKP declared the end of the negotiation process with the PKK by terminating the Dolmabahçe agreements and forming an alliance with paramilitary groups that previously had ordered most of the Kurds’s massacres in the region.

Meanwhile, the AKP regime has mobilized groups with gang members of the Islamic State under the coordination of the Turkish secret service (MIT) this group has been behind many murders during the election campaign of the general elections of June 7, including bomb attacks during pre-election rallies and starting fires HDP offices in various cities across the country.

The perpetrators of these attacks, although formally known by the State services, have never been prosecuted for their crimes up to now.
But despite these deliberate will of sabotage, the HDP has nonetheless crossed the barrier of 10% and managed to elect 80 members of parliament, becoming the third political force.

The government never accepted the victory that cost him his parliamentary majority and the policy of terror has thus amplified through the entire Kurdish territory where many representatives of our party were arrested, 37 mayors of our municipalities were detained or dismissed. Currently, mayors elected with over 90% of the votes are in prison and dismissal of all mayors of our party is envisaged to replace them with officials appointed by the government itself.

The two objectives of this policy of violence was to sabotage the election’s campaign of the HDP and recover part of the electorate of the extreme right to the early elections of November 1, 2015, following which they were able to get their majority in parliament.

Since, the wave of political repression persists in 7 provinces and 21 districts of the Kurdish region where unlimited curfews were imposed arbitrarily and where a total of more than 791 civilians have been killed so far.
Most of the civilians killed by Turkish military forces, including many children and elderly people were subsequently designated as “terrorists” in order to give credibility to the killings.
Emerging reports prove that some bodies were mutilated and abused and have been disseminated by some media with the intention of humiliating the Kurdish people.
There are currently many bodies under the rubble who are not allowed to be discharged because of the the government’s interdiction.

Several cities have been completely destroyed by tanks and heavy artillery by the military forces so far and about 400 000 inhabitants were forced to take refuge in other cities.
The 7000 years old’s historic center of the city of Diyarbakir, churches, synagogues and mosques as well as many classified UNESCO heritage sites were destroyed by Turkish tanks and entering the old city is ​​still forbidden to this day. The destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria by the gangs of the Islamic State occurred at the same time  but the historical site of Sur has not unfortunately aroused any international protest.

Attempts of state crimes concealment

MPs of our party and Kurdish civil associations have not been allowed to enter the cities affected by the state of siege while a real crime against humanity continues its course to date.
Several delegations of the European Parliament that went on the premises were denied access in areas where curfews were declared.
Kati Piri, official EP Rapporteur for Turkey access were also blocked to the entrance of the district during his last visit.
The Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn was forced  for his part to cancel a visit to the city of Mardin under pressure from the government, as the official European Parliament delegation which was visiting the Kurdish region March 28 was unable to fulfill its mission for the same reasons.

As a political party we have submitted all the reports on violations of human rights to the authorities of the European Union.
On March 7th, our co-Chairman informed a dozen heads of state before the summit between the EU and Turkey.
At this meeting, we also submitted evidence of atrocities by the Turkish government in the Kurdistan region to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, the First Deputy Chairman of the European Commission Frans Timmermans as well as a large number of European members of the PES leaders.

On March 9th 2015, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) invited Mehmet Tekinarslan, Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior of the Turkish State and Osman Baydemir, member of the People’s Democratic Party and former mayor of the city of Diyarbakir, to discuss the situation in the Kurdish region as part of the Monitorium Committee of the Council of Europe and to which representatives of Amnesty International where invited.

The Monitoring Committee expressed deep concern about the human rights situation in the Southeast region, the undergoing military operations, the several months long curfews and the restrictions on freedom of media and access to pluralistic informations.
Our representative, MP Osman Baydemir, provided the necessary evidence to show that a crime against humanity led by the Turkish state was taking place against the Kurdish people.
The Amnesty International representative Andrew Gardner also mentioned in his speech that the Turkish government was inflicting collective punishment in the region through unfounded and abusive curfews that prevented the inhabitants of the cities to have access to basic needs such as obtaining food, water, and access to health care.
Andrew Gardner added that despite their insistent demands, the Amnesty team was not allowed to visit the besieged cities.

After hearing both parties,the committee stated concern about the fact that these developments could undermine Turkey’s fulfillment of its obligations towards the Council of Europe and hamper the democratic progress sought by the country and its efforts to draft a civilian constitution. The committee recalled that Turkey is a founding member of the Council of Europe, and remains a strategic partner for Europe and said that Turkish legislation and legal practices in force were expected to comply with Council of Europe standards in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The committee has therefore asked its co-rapporteurs for post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey to pay a fact-finding mission to the country at their earliest convenience, with a view to presenting a report on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey during the June 2016 part-session.

The committee also asked the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe’s group of independent legal experts – for an opinion on the legal framework governing curfews.

Finally, the committee called on the Turkish authorities to consider the relaxation of curfews, so that humanitarian considerations are addressed by securing citizens’ access to water and food, medical care and other basic rights.

The last three months we have had meetings with head of all political groups in the European Parliament, Council of Europe, Commissioners of the European Union, Foreign Ministers and have underlined that the seriousness of the ongoing massacres should be considered without delay.

All-out inertia of the European and international institutions before the ongoing genocide

The Kurdish region critically suffers because of the murderous policies of the ruling regime, experiencing one of the bloodiest periods in its history, to the utter indifference of the World.

There were certain statements of Presidents of political groups who condemned the Turkish state policy in the Kurdish region, but the position of the European union and institutions did not go beyond mere declarations.

Reinforced because of the agreement with the EU on refugees’s issue, Turkey continues its murderous policy against our people with a unparalleled sense of impunity and Kurdish cities of Cizre, Silopi, Sirnak Nusaybin, Yüksekova and Sur are bombarded on a daily basis by the army while inhabitants had no time to evacuate.

Meanwhile, the AKP government is trying to find ways to wipe out the only effective parliamentary group on the ground, the HDP, which by its declarations in favor of peace and human rights and democracy, became the subject of a series of manoeuvers aimed at removing at all costs the parliamentary immunity of its members.

The government has even managed to convene diplomatic mission representatives for their sole participation in trials of detained Turkish journalists. We speak of a country, Turkey, an official candidate for the EU.

As long as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations do not set a clear stance against these crimes against humanity taking place in the kurdish region, the ongoing criminal policy of the Turkish state will amplify the massacres and the number of refugees, and will be responsible for a widespread war in the entire region.
This is why a common position and a firm conviction toward the Turkish state have become more than urgent.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that France and Great-Britain, under the Sykes-Picot’s agreement, divided the region in 1916 without taking into consideration the existence of the Kurdish people, have a historical responsibility to intervene with the United Nations in order to take concrete measures to respect the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people, essential to the stability of the region, beacause the full recognition of Kurdish rights is the condition for lasting and reliable peace in the region.

Eyyup Doru,

HPD’s European representative




Related Articles