UK to exert political and economic sanctions on Turkey

The following NGO’s: Roj Women Assembly, The Socialist Union of Women, Kurdish Federation UK, Kurdish Community Centre, Halkevi and Britain Peace Council strongly condemn the Turkish State’s barbaric murders and disappearances of Kurds and other minorities. We urge the Turkish State to comply with European Human Rights Convention 1998 and the Statement on the Protection against Enforced Disappearances, accepted by the United Nations 1992.

Turkey has been committing serious crimes against humanity in the Kurdish regions for the last 30 years. This has been proved once more after recent excavations of mass graves in the Mutki district of Bitlis province, where human bones were discovered. The Turkish government has been rejecting to investigate unsolved political murders conducted from 1990’s. Regardless of many complaints filed by the relatives of those forcibly disappeared and the confession of clandestine intelligence and witnesses, Turkish government remains silent. Moreover, it has been trying cover up the evidence.

The perpetrators of these crimes are known to the government but it continues to fail in its commitment to comply with the Human Rights Convention by not investigating.  One of the mass graves was found near a gendarmerie station in the eastern province of Bitlis’ Mutki district. This is prime evidence of the complicity between the army and the Turkish government.

Hence, we would like our concern to be raised in Britain’s and other European State’s bilateral relationship with Turkey. By cooperating with the Turkish state, England and Europe are calling their own standards of adherence to human rights into question. We believe that the ideals of democracy and free speech on which the European Union was founded are not exclusive, and Kurds will not be deterred in their struggle for these rights.

Therefore, we urge the UK and EU as a matter of urgency to stop standing by while Turkey denies and rejects to investigate these inhumane murders.  Also, to exert pressure on the Turkish State to proceed immediately in enlightening these mass graves in Kurdish regions and all other forcibly disappeared in Turkey and to take necessary actions against their perpetrators. We demand UK, UN and EU to apply trade sanctions as a tool to increase the political pressure on Turkey until:

– An independent delegation is formed to identify the number of disappeared people and their stories. Ottoman and Turkish archives are opened and mass graves found and opened.

– Forensic Medical Institutions open their records and the DNA test applications of relatives of disappeared people accepted.

– Military and police records are published, and a War Crimes Tribunal formed in order to try those responsible for the disappearances.

– Relatives of missing people are compensated for their material and psychological loss. Those who attacked and burned down villages and those who ordered these attacks are identified and punished.

– The fate of people who disappeared in detention or were buried in mass graves needs are known.

– The Turkish Republic apologises to families.

– The State accepts the Statement on the Protection against Enforced Disappearances, accepted by the United Nations’ general assembly on 18 December 1992, as domestic law.

– Police custody is abolished; rather, people taken in by the police should be brought to a judge directly.

Roj Women Assembly,
The Socialist Union of Women,
Kurdish Federation UK,
Kurdish Community Centre,
Britain Peace Council


February 7, 2011


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