Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Law and Human Rights Commission Co-Spokesman Serhat Eren said that the 10-17 December Human Rights Week* was met at a time when the political power was destroying basic human rights with its war policies.
Eren emphasised that fundamental human rights in Turkey have been almost completely suspended by the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), especially since 2015.
“Thousands of people lost their lives between 2015 and 2022 with the concept of war, which was reintroduced against the Kurdish people in Turkey and abroad through racist and militarist actions. Thousands were injured, and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced,” he added.
Eren argued that the Turkish Armed Forces had committed war crimes in cross-border operations against Kurdish fighters in North and East Syria and northern Iraq.
The resolution and peace process between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) ended in 2015 after attempts for negotiations for two years. As a result, conflicts flared up between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants and intense clashes took place in Kurdish-populated cities.
Also, Turkey has been conducting military operations in Syria since 2016. Turkey’s recent airstrikes against North and East Syria have continued unabated since 19 November.
“In these wars and attacks, not only are human rights violated, but war crimes are committed according to international law,” Eren said.
Eren also stated that keeping PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan under heavy isolation conditions in Imralı Prison is a clear violation of basic human rights, in terms of the right to life and the prohibition of torture.
HDP Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, on the other hand, referred to the violations of rights in prisons in Turkey in a press statement on Saturday and noted that there were 39 deaths and 34 suspicious deaths in Turkish prisons in the last year.
*Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December; the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).