For the past three months the Turkish AKP government has increasingly been taking action against their own population in the southeast of the country which is predominantly Kurdish. Under the guise of the war on terror entire cities are being placed under siege, residential areas attacked with heavy weapons, infrastructure deliberately destroyed and civilians killed. According to statutes that Turkey has both signed and ratified, which are in place to protect civilians, adults and children who are not visibly armed must be protected as non-combatants. While the Turkish government requires compliance with these statutes from other countries (when deemed politically desirable), it seem to have little interest in their enforcement in their own country.
We have debated whether CADUS should comment on the prevailing escalation of military violence in Turkey. While CADUS is not a political organisation the group is made up of politically aware individuals and as such has opinions on the current situation, especially, as it greatly influences our work as a humanitarian aid organisation in locally based projects. What has been happening in cities such as Diyarbakır, Cizre or Silopi is the starting point of another humanitarian crisis in the region. Therefore we decided that this short statement is relevant to our work even though it conveys my personal views on this matter and does not capture the entirety of opinions on this subject that are present in CADUS.
In view of the fact that Erdoğan’s government intervened in the civil war in Syria, the latest actions seem especially cynical. Four years ago Erdoğan demanded that Syria’s dictator Bashar Al-Assad step down on the basis that his rule had lost its legitimacy through continued attacks on his own population. Erdoğan rightly wanted Al-Assad deposed because of the murders committed in Syria under the rule of this despot even though he himself is now letting his own population be shot, entire apartment blocks bombarded and neighbourhoods “cleansed” by the military.
The EU should not consider someone like Erdoğan as a partner over questions on refugees or border security. Instead of reprimanding Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu at least rhetorically, the EU donated several billion Euros for border security and the expansion of camps for Syrian refugees. This proves the lessons learnt from the European Unions’ dealing with Libya, Egypt and Tunisia: working together with autocrats and dictators is acceptable when attempting to keep refugees out of the EU, regardless of the human rights situation in the respective countries.
CADUS calls for an immediate end of the military action in Turkey! We call for the establishment of humanitarian corridors to enable safe passage and provision of food to the affected population! We call for the renewal of negotiations and an honest effort to revive the peace process by the Turkish government!