The Kurdish Struggle in Turkey: Two Articles

The 2010 report of the Human Rights Association reveals that deaths, injuries, setting villages on fire, torture and maltreatment are still continuing in the scope of the Kurdish question. Courts oppressed freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, the report claims.

The Report on Human Rights Violation in Southern and South-Eastern Anatolia released by the Human Rights Association (İHD) shows an increase in the number of armed conflicts in the pre-dominantly Kurdish region and also in the number of violations due to judicial pressure.

In a press statement made at the İHD branch of Diyarbakır (South-Eastern Turkey), Member of the Steering Board Şevket Akdemir announced, “In the course of the government’s efforts to initiate an opening process in the beginning of 2010, hopes ran high to resolve the deadlock and the clashes on peaceful and democratic grounds”.

“However, the intolerance developed by the government against differences and opposing voices was the reason for the hopes fuelled in the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 for peace and a solution to vanish quickly”.

Accordingly, the number of deaths and injuries increased because clashes started again after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) announced the expiry of the ceasefire that had been declared on 1 June since the military operations were still being continued.

“Again, death and injuries caused by mines and unclaimed explosives were experienced continually. These incidents of death evolved from the negligence and premeditation of the security forces. The incidents harmed the public conscience as well as well as the society’s sense of justice by continuing the policy of impunity towards the people who are responsible”.

Rights violations

Burning down villages: “Setting villages on fire was the nightmare of the people in the region in the 1990s. In 2010, it was put to the agenda once more. Three villages belonging to the Hasankeyif District in Batman were set on fire including the surrounding fields, for example. The year 2010 was marked by a significant increase in the number of forest areas burnt down by security forces, mainly as a result of military operations”.

Mass graves:
“In 2010, many applications were filed to our association regarding mass graves. Research carried out by our association revealed a vast number of mass graves. In order to achieve a sound solution, a commission has to be established urgently to disclose the facts, as we have always claimed”.

Bodies of PKK members: “The desecration of corpses of PKK militants by destroying the body’s physical integrity with chemicals or other the use of other methods sparks anger and indignation in society and most of all in the families”.

Special Authority Courts: “The number of arrest and prosecutions significantly increased as a result of oppressive policies applied by the arm of the judiciary against freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. A court board arbitrarily restrained Kurdish politicians and human rights defenders on trial from presenting their defence in their mother tongue. The right to a fair trial and the right to defence were violated that way”.

“Torture continues”: İHD executive Akdemir stated that taking people into custody and beating and torture applied by the police forces at social events in particular strengthened the argument that torture has been brought to the streets. He furthermore drew attention to the fact that fatally ill convicts were not released from prison.

Diyarbakır – BİA News Center


European Court of Human Rights: Turkey Takes the Lead in Europe in Violations in 2010

Turkey ranks first among the number of countries convicted for rights violations by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010. Russia is on second position of the list of 47 countries. Main reasons for Turkey’s convictions were the fairness or the length of trials.

Among 47 countries under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, Turkey ranks at the top position regarding the number of convictions in 2010.

The court decided 278 files of applicants from Turkey. 228 of these cases comprised violations of at least one article of the European Convention on Human Rights, the court announced. Only nine files concerning Turkey did not include any violation of rights as ruled by the ECHR.

Turkey is followed by Russia (217 judgments), Romania (143) and the Ukraine (109).

Too much even for the ECHR

At the same time, the work load of the ECHR has considerably increased according to the court’s statement.

“Approximately 139,650 applications were pending before a judicial formation on 1 January 2011. More than half of these applications had been lodged against one of four countries: Russia, Turkey, Romania or Ukraine”, the court announced. 10.9 percent of all applications come from Turkey.

In 2010, the ECHR considered a total of 41,000 applications. 1,499 decisions came out of 2,607 applications. 37 percent of all decisions made by the Strasbourg court were related to violations of the right to a fair trial. Decisions regarding Turkey were mostly based on violations in aspect to the fairness and the length of trials.

Click here <> to view the ECHR facts sheet.



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