A resolution condemning Turkey’s increasingly anti-democratic course and calling for urgent global intervention on the Kurdish question was the conclusion of the 18th Annual International Conference on the European Union, Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds, organised by the EU-Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) in cooperation with various European parliamentary groups.
🔴 The 18th EUTCC (@EUTCC1) conference concludes with a resolution condemning Turkey's anti-democratic actions. Urgent global intervention is sought on issues like the Kurdish question, gender-based violence, and human rights abuses.#KurdConfEP | #EUTCC | #Kurds
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) December 8, 2023
The conference, which took place on 6-7 December at the European Parliament in Brussels, highlighted Turkey’s increasingly aggressive stance, particularly towards the Kurdish population, and coincided with the country’s centenary celebrations. The focus of the conference was on alarming issues such as the Turkish government’s military actions, gender-based violence and human rights abuses.
The continued solitary confinement of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, arrests of Kurdish politicians and the imposition of government-appointed administrators in Kurdish-majority regions during local elections were among the key concerns outlined in the final resolution. The withdrawal of Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, with the resultant increase in gender violence, was also a point of contention.
In the final statement, the conference strongly condemned Turkish expansionist foreign policy, noting that air strikes and drones in Kurdish-controlled North and East Syria and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have led to civilian casualties and increased instability in the region. Active support for fundamentalist and Islamist groups has been cited as an important contributor to the worsening crisis in the Middle East.
The resolution adopted by the EUTCC conference sets out a number of demands, including:
– Urgent action by the European Union in alignment with the European Parliament’s report on Turkey, considering the responsibilities outlined in the Treaty of Lausanne.
– Immediate publication of the report on the last visit to the prison island where Abdullah Öcalan is held, with the Council of Europe urged to enforce measures against Turkey’s disregard for European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgments.
– The immediate lifting of the incommunicado detention of Abdullah Öcalan, advocating for his release in accordance with the ‘Right to Hope’ legislation.
– Recognition and support for the worldwide campaign launched in October for Öcalan’s freedom and a political solution to the Kurdish question.
As a symbol of the struggle for “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” (Woman, Life, Freedom), the conference also welcomed the decision of the European Parliament to award the Sakharov Peace Prize to the Kurdish woman Jina Amini. As an integral aspect of the wider struggle for democracy and peace in Turkey and the Middle East, the EUTCC conference expressed solidarity with Kurdish women’s resistance.