The Human Rights Association of Turkey (İHD) released a statement on 1 September, traditionally celebrated in Turkey as “Peace Day”, emphasising that a new peace process and a political will to resolve conflicts were prerequisites for human rights and democracy.
“Turkey is a country which has not been able to resolve major issues like the Kurdish Question through dialogue and negotiation-based means of conflict resolution,” the statement said.
It went on to give a grim account of the armed conflicts between 2015 and 2020, indicating that 90 civilians, 1322 state troops and 2599 Kurdish militants were killed in clashes within those six years, while 1055 fell victim to extrajudicial killings. It added that casualties in Syria and Iraq prior to 2020 were not included in the figures.
“Violence and a language of hatred have become more and more common in these conditions of constant armed conflict. The inability to prevent femicide and the rise in incidents of rape and sexual abuse are actually possible by-products of the situation. There has also been also a rise in racist attacks motivated by hatred.
“This process has serious negative impacts on the economy which cannot be compensated for. In fact, this has led to a phase of constant economic crisis.
“A refugee problem has emerged as a consequence of policies towards the Middle East based on an anti-Kurdish stance, and this has eventually led to a discourse of hatred and attacks targeting refugees.”
The statement concluded by saying that a new peace process could be started if political parties and social opposition in Turkey focused on peace, and that was possible only through a struggle for the right to peace.
“Global Peace Index 2021”
In the meantime, a recent global report by an an independent think tank, presented a picture of the world in 2021 in terms of “peacefulness” on the basis of qualitative and quantitative indicators.
In the “Global Peace Index 2021”, released by “The Institute for Economics and Peace” (IEP), Turkey ranked 149th among 163 countries, managing to stay just above the worst 13 countries, marked in red, and just above Pakistan.
Of the 13 countries ranking worst , Turkey is militarily involved with five: Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Turkey ranked the worst country in Europe, a full 69 places below Kosovo, which is second-worst and which globally ranked 80th.
In the category of “ongoing domestic and international conflict domains”, Turkey took place among the worst 10 countries alongside Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria.