Human Lives Human Rights: In the first section, we explored the complete history of Kurdish independence. Moving on to the second section, we delved into the crimes and infringements on the rights of Kurds in Iraq. Now, in this section, we will focus on the violations of Kurdish rights in Turkey.
Overall, the Kurdish population in Turkey has faced and continues to face various forms of pressure. It can be argued that, after Iraq, the rights of Kurds are violated in Turkey more than in any other country. The issue of human rights violations in Turkey is particularly evident, and this can be attributed to the outcomes and consequences of the dictatorial regime that prevailed in Turkey from the time of Atatürk until 2000, which was characterized by military rule.
The military has seized power multiple times through coups, including the most recent one that occurred during Mr. Erdoğan’s tenure. This matter was brought up in the European Union, which issued warnings to the military. However, the consequences of these events are clearly visible in the behavior of the police and security forces. For instance, when someone is arrested, they are treated as a criminal rather than an accused individual.
This situation has persisted throughout the Islamist era, and it is important to acknowledge that the security forces consistently hold the dominant position in Turkey. This unresolved issue poses a problem and can contribute to the violation of human rights in the country. Another aspect to consider in the discussion of human rights violations is the treatment of different ethnicities in Turkey.
The Kurdish issue has consistently been overshadowed by the dominant Turkish population, with efforts made to marginalize and ignore the Kurds. This is evident in the derogatory term “mountain people” used to refer to the Kurds. They are often treated as second-class citizens in Turkey, and their rights have not been adequately respected. Similarly, in the realm of religion, Shiites are often overshadowed by Sunnis, and their rights are disregarded. These factors contribute to the violation of human rights in Turkey.
The Turkish constitution recognizes three minorities: Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, seemingly disregarding the presence of Kurds and Shiites in Turkey. The violation of human rights in Turkey, particularly in the Kurdish regions of the eastern and southeastern parts of the country during the 1990s, resulted in a series of murders and forced disappearances.
The individuals responsible for these killings were referred to as “unknown assailants” or “unidentified forces. ” These forces, with the backing of the security forces, targeted educated and prominent individuals rather than ordinary citizens. The organized nature of these killings suggests that they were not spontaneous acts, but rather premeditated actions carried out with the involvement of the government.
In addition to the matter of organized killings, Article 66 of the Turkish Constitution states that individuals who acquire Turkish citizenship are bound to the nation of Turkey and are regarded as Turks. The constitution also emphasizes the unity of the Turkish nation, rejecting the concept of minority or majority within it. The constitution further acknowledges the absence of rights for minorities, asserting that when all citizens of Turkey are considered equal under the law and unified, the concept of minority or majority becomes irrelevant. However, it is important to note that approximately 45% of Turkey’s population consists of religious and ethnic minorities, including Kurds who make up around 25% of the population. Unfortunately, the rights of these minorities, particularly the Kurds, are not adequately respected.
In addition to the evident violation of the rights of the Kurdish population, the disregard for the rights of Shiites is also a significant concern. For instance, the Shiite minority, comprising approximately 17% of the population in Turkey, is denied the basic right to have their own mosques. Furthermore, according to Turkish educational laws, from elementary to high school, all students are required to be taught Sunni jurisprudence and intellectual principles, neglecting the diversity of religious beliefs and practices within the country.
Another aspect regarding Kurdish rights is the military conflict between the Turkish army and opposition groups like the PKK. Unfortunately, there have been instances where the Turkish army has targeted Kurdish civilians under the pretext of combating this militant group. Additionally, with the onset of the war in Syria, Turkey has taken advantage of the situation and caused significant destruction in Kurdish areas both within Turkey and across the border in Syria.
It is important to highlight that during the Syrian war, Turkey has consistently hindered Syrian refugees and asylum seekers from entering its territory. Furthermore, there have been instances where Turkish and Syrian Kurds have faced suppression under unsubstantiated pretexts.
Based on the aforementioned instances, it appears that Turkey has systematically planned the suppression of the Kurdish minority right from the start. Unfortunately, this organized suppression continues, as international human rights forums have remained relatively silent on the matter.