The problems regarding human rights in Turkey are directly related to Turkish policies that deny Kurds their basic rights and freedoms, the head of a prominent human rights watchdog said on Monday.
The policy of the Turkish government to restrict or ban the rights and freedoms of the Kurdish-population in the southeastern part of the country, has become a permanent feature of 2022, Abdullah Zeytun, the chair of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır (Amed) branch told Gazete Duvar.
Zeytun listed the security forces’ crackdown against peaceful demonstrations in the region, rights violations in prisons, violations related to the right to life, and bans on arts and culture activities, as main rights issues to affect the Kurdish population this year.
“Kurds see and experience this policy based on the denial of their fundamental rights and freedoms as a state policy. And I am sure everybody is aware that Kurds are the ones most affected by basic problems caused by the lack of legal security and injustice in Turkey, which constitutes the basic link of the problems,” said Zeytun. “And this makes it possible to say the state is being nourished over the unresolve of the Kurdish issue, that it has turned into a century-long system, far away from a becoming a democratic country that respects the rule of law,” he added, citing the organisation’s reports and the applications it has received as evidence of the extent of human rights violations faced by the Kurds.
One of the main problems in Turkey are human rights violations in prisons, according to Zeytun, who said that the state had been applying a different law when it comes to political prisoners. “According to the 2022 figures of our İHD Centre Prisons Commission, 1,517 prisoners, including 651 in critical condition, have been kept in prisons without their right to health. Staying in prison turns into torture for prisoners as their right to access good quality health services is denied,” he said.
This issue is directly related to the Kurdish question and its political solution, Zeytun added.
“We have seen the contribution of peace negotiations that were carried out implicitly or explicitly in the past. Similarly, the decline in human rights violations during the process of peace negotiations should be considered,” Zeytun said, referring to the negotiations between the Turkish state and the PKK that collapsed in 2015.