Turkish Offensive on Kurdish Areas Threatens 200,000 Lives
Posted by feww on January 21, 2016
Democracy cannot exist without freedom of expression
Onslaught on Kurdish areas in Turkey putting tens of thousands of lives at risk —Amnesty
“The Turkish government’s onslaught on Kurdish towns and neighborhoods, which includes round-the-clock curfews and cuts to services, is putting the lives of up to 200,000 people at risk and amounts to collective punishment,” says Amnesty International.
“Cuts to water and electricity supplies combined with the dangers of accessing food and medical care while under fire are having a devastating effect on residents, and the situation is likely to get worse, fast, if this isn’t addressed,” said Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program Director.“In some areas, crippling curfews that don’t allow people to leave their houses at all have been in place for more than a month, effectively laying siege to entire neighborhoods. It is imperative that the Turkish authorities ensure that affected residents are able to access food and essential services.”
Amnesty cites numerous reports of Turkish security forces preventing ambulances from entering areas under curfew. In one incident, body of a man killed during clashes in Silopi was left to decompose at the family’s home for 12 days before authorities allowed it to be collected.
Meanwhile the Turkish dictator has vowed to punish treasonous’ academics for defending human rights.
Turkish president vows ‘treasonous’ academics will pay the price
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stepped up his harsh rhetoric against academics who called for an end to military operations in Turkey’s southeast, warning that they would pay the price for “falling into a pit of treachery,” said a report.
“I’m saying frankly: This mindset which gives a self-styled fatwa to the terror organization’s attacks on public servants, which simply says ‘it would be better if it didn’t do so’ in response to the killing of civilians, disgusts me,” Erdoğan said.
Prosecutors have launched a major investigation into more than 1,200 academics who signed a petition denouncing military operations in the southeast, with at least 18 being detained so far. The EU and the United States have both denounced the probes in unusually strong statements.
The Turkish dictator, speaking at his presidential palace, said the academics’ “masks have fallen off,” showing their “real and ugly faces.”
“They spit out hatred of our nation’s values and history on every occasion. The petition has made this clearer.”
“Do you think you can disrupt the unity of this nation? Do you think you can continue to have a comfortable life with a salary from the state, without paying a price?” Erdoğan said.
“In a state of law like Turkey, so-called academics who target the unity of our nation have no right to commit crimes. They don’t have immunity for this.”
All those detained in the probe into the petition last week have since been released but they still face investigation and eventual trial.
Academics support colleagues under probe in Turkey
Hundreds of Turkish academics have expressed solidarity with their colleagues suspected of terrorism crimes after signing a petition to call for an end to ongoing violence in southeastern Turkey in a statement sent to the Hürriyet Daily News.
“Democracy cannot exist without freedom of expression,” said the statement signed by 610 academics from various universities including some in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Turkey.
“We, the undersigned academics, believe that freedom of expression is the core element of academic life… we think that the reaction of the government and the Higher Education Council [YÖK] toward the petition entitled ‘We shall not be a party to this crime’ signed by over 1,000 academics is wrong and disturbing,” the statement said.
The statement came amid a criminal complaint against a group of people, including 15 academics out of a total of 1,228 who signed the petition to call for peace, as well as overt death threats by ultranationalist mafia boss Sedat Peker that directly targeted the academics. The scholars also demanded state protection as they said “our lives are in danger” in a criminal complaint filed with the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
“We will let your blood flow in streams and take a shower in your blood,” Peker, a well-known convicted criminal, said in a message posted on his personal website on Jan. 13. The message titled as “The So-Called Intellectuals, The Bells Will Toll for You First” was posted just a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called more than 1,000 Turkish and international academics as “poor excuses for intellectuals.”
The statement from the 610 also said public debate and criticism were the basic tenets of democracy, whereas silencing and persecuting dissent were the hallmarks of authoritarianism.
“The attempt to punish the academics who express their opinions regarding the burning problems which are currently affecting the country constitutes a blow to academic freedom. Social progress is bound to be impeded by such an attack,” it added.
At least 40,000 people have been killed in the Kurdish conflict since 1984, Turkish govt says.