A European delegation, detained in Turkey and later deported, stated on their return to Germany where they were then questioned by German police, that opposition to the Turkish war in North and East Syria, which they believe to be facilitated by German arms, is suppressed and faces scrutiny in Turkey.
The delegation, hosted by the Ronahî Public Relations Youth Centre, endured both physical and psychological abuse during their three-day detention in Turkey. “The delegates have sustained visible injuries due to the violence inflicted by Turkish security officials”, the Ronahî Centre disclosed.
The delegates were part of a political mission visiting Turkey at the invitation of the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party’s Youth Council. They were arrested in Şanlıurfa (Riha) on 12 October during a joint press release by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and the Green Left Party, against Turkey’s military actions in North and East Syria.
“We were there to understand the political situation on the ground, especially after Erdogan’s electoral win. We were all interested in the Kurdish issue and what it means for the local population”, said one delegate in a video message. “We experienced at first hand the arbitrariness people there are subjected to and how any opposition against the war is simply crushed.”
Upon their return to Germany, Italy and France, the delegates were met by family, friends and supporters. However, their ordeal was far from over. “The new interrogation by the German federal police led to re-traumatisation”, said one German delegate. The victims were given copies of their statements after the questioning, but the course of the interrogations was described in ambiguous terms.
The delegates also expressed their concern about the broader political implications of their arrest and mistreatment. “It’s evident that any opposition to the war in North and East Syria, which is partially facilitated by German weapons, is completely crushed. And even upon arrival back at Hamburg Airport, we were arbitrarily questioned by the German Federal Police, showing how states cooperate” the delegate remarked in a statement in the video.
The delegates concluded their video statements with a call to action: “We urge everyone in German society who believes in democratic values and press freedom to take a clear stance against Turkey’s war on the Kurdish people and the Turkish regime”.
“We will continue our fight for justice”, added another delegate. “This experience has only strengthened our resolve to stand in solidarity with the people on the ground and to oppose this regime that suppresses any form of opposition.”