Kurdish Question, Nov 19, 2016 (additional reports further below on the human rights situation in Turkey)
Left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sirnak deputy Faysal Sariyildiz spoke at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations on November 19.
Speaking on the fifth day of sessions of the Council, Sariyildiz described his experiences in Kurdish town Cizre, where more than 100 people were killed alive in February 2016 across three basements and said,
“The deaths in Cizre are not the result of simple clashes. They are the result of human rights crimes. They are signs of the intent to burn alive and exterminate a whole people.” [See ‘December 2015 – February 2016 Cizre curfew’. Wikipedia.
Delivering a short message, which he said was on behalf of the people of Cizre to human rights workers and institutions, the member of parliament accused the UN of keeping silent as the killings in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast continued.
Here is Faysal Sariyildiz’s message:
Writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric said world-renowned philosopher Theodor Adorno. As the sins of Auschwitz, even after many years, continued bleeding the spirits of its victims and disturbing humankind;
In February 2016, Derya Koç connected via telephone to live television and said, “They doused 20-25 injured people with petrol and burned them alive in the basement moments ago. Now they are going to burn us, 25 people, on the 1st and 2nd floors.” A week later Derya’s corpse was handed to her family.
State forces killed 257 people, at least 24 of them children, during the 79-day curfew in Cizre, where I am the Member of Parliament. 143 people, among them university students, artists, politicians and journalists, took refuge in three separate basements in Cizre to escape tank shelling. We shared the names and addresses of these people with state and government authorities, despite this, the Turkish government, as the whole world looked on, set these people on fire.
Earlier, on January 20th, soldiers had fired on a large group on its way to recover injured people ambulances hadn’t attended to. I was among that large group. 2 people were killed and dozens injured. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the incident was alarming and needed to be investigated urgently. Nothing was done and despite all our efforts to save the civilian people in the subsequent basements of atrocity, the international community looked on silently. If diplomatic pressure had been put on the Turkish state, those people who were burned alive might be with us today.
The deaths in Cizre are not the result of simple clashes. They are the result of human rights crimes. They are signs of the intent to burn alive and exterminate a whole people.
As a representative of my people, I was among them during the Siege of Cizre. I knew most of the people who were burned alive in those basements, their corpses turned to ash. I am here today for them and for all my people. I still carry the smell of burning flesh on me. Still today, there are corpses that cannot be identified because they have been burned to smithereens. I was there and witnessed the most diabolical savagery in the history of the Turkish Republic.
The UN’s request to send a delegation to investigate the incidents in Cizre has still not been responded to by Turkish authorities. They want to hide the truth. It was humanity that was burned alive in Cizre; I want to remind you of this.
Even though the truth always has a funny way of coming out, you must play an active role in making this happen. This has to be our foremost duty. Otherwise the conscience of humanity, which constantly bleeds, is going to continue disturbing us.
A final note; we have written and audio records of communication with the 143 people burned alive in the three basements, we also have footage of their body parts and corpses being cast away into rivers by the state’s construction machinery as well as records from the funeral carriages carrying corpses.
UN Rapporteur says freedom of expression is ‘grim’ in Turkey
The United Nations Rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye said on Friday that the situation in Turkey was “grim”. Speaking in Ankara today, Kaye warned the Turkish government that it does not have a “blank cheque” in its reaction against July’s coup attempt in the country and those it accuses of having ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“The conclusions I would say are fairly grim and reflect what I think is a deep sense of restriction on freedom of opinion and expression throughout the country.”
The legal expert, who will report back to the UN Human Rights Council also warned of the long-term impact of the pressure on academics and teachers.
“If it (the purge) continues, people will leave — as long as they have access to their passport. They could go teach somewhere else, they could leave the country,” he told AFP after a news conference.
“The more academics leave, the less you have educators in the country for the next generation.”
During his visit to Turkey Kaye met with five jailed staff from the Cumhuriyet newspaper, as well as acclaimed translator Necmiye Alpay, who was imprisoned for her work with Kurdish daily Ozgur Gundem. However, he was denied access to internationally-renowned novelist Asli Erdogan, also jailed on charges of PKK membership for being an editorial advisor to Ozgur Gundem.
Kaye presented a series of initial recommendations, including a call to release all detained journalists and the repeal of defamation legislation which makes it an offence to insult the president and other public officials.
More than 100,000 people within the judiciary, media, military and civil service have been arrested, suspended or sacked since the coup attempt in July. Kurdish circles have accused the Turkish government of imposing state of emergency law as a tool to target all opposition groups in the country.
34 Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) municipalities have been seized by decree law with 52 co-mayors being removed from office and 39 imprisoned since the failed coup.
Ten pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party MPs, including the party’s co-chairs have also been imprisoned on charges of being members or supporting the outlawed PKK, which wasn’t involved in the coup attempt.
Turkey did not allow a United Nations commission to enter the country to investigate claims of civilian deaths t the hands of the Turkish military in Cizre in January and February 2016.
Source: AFP, Kurdish Question
Demonstration held in İstanbul to protest arrest of Kurdish deputies
Thousands of people gathered in İstanbul on Sunday to protest the arrest of 10 deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in a “We will not surrender” rally.
Although the rally mainly aimed to protest the arrest of the Kurdish deputies, banners criticizing other problems including emergency rule, decrees facilitating the purge of thousands of civil servants without due process, a crackdown on the critical media, a proposed executive presidency and child abuse were carried by the demonstrators.
Several Kurdish, Alevi, LGBT and leftist organizations attended the demonstration in the Kartal district of İstanbul as well as the families of some Gezi protest victims.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.