Saturday, October 17, 2009

Turkey's human rights record examined

Turkey commits massive violations of the rights of Kurds, but Kurds, unlike Palestinians, don't "count" - nobody cares.
Turkey points to Israel to deflect from itself
October 17, 10:51 AM Progressive Geopolitics  Examiner Andrew E. Mathis
Turkey has been enormously critical of Israel's military policy in Gaza since last year's war, and the most recent development is that Turkish television has aired a television program on the conflict in which a fictional Israeli soldier is seen shooting a Palestinian baby.
It's a charming bit of teledrama I'm sure. But what are the Turks trying to do in being so critical of Israel? Perhaps it amounts to their trying, in essence, to deflect attention away from its own dismal human rights record.
The chief area in which the Turkish government has committed the grossest human rights offenses has ben in its ongoing conflict with the Kurdish minority. Since 1978, the Turks have been in armed conflict with a secessionist group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). There's a strong analogy to be drawn between Israel's fight with Hamas and Turkey's fight with the PKK. Both the PKK and Hamas are recognized by the international community at large to be terrorist organizations. For its part, the PKK has engaged in bombings, killings of officials, etc.
The Turkish response has been, according to Human Rights Watch, to engage in torture, house raids, extrajudicial killings, and firing on crowds without discrimination for who is a combatant and who is not.
Does that ring familiarly at all? Sound like the things with which Israel has been accused in its conflict with the Palestinians?
Then there's the issue of Cyprus. Turkey invaded the island nation, which has a mixed Greek and Turkish population, in 1974, and conducted a de facto military occupation for 30 years, creating a puppet state of Northern Cyprus in the process. A two-state solution has been proposed for Cyprus since 2004, but the Greek population has rejected it, opting instead for a reunified nation.
Does any of that ring familiar?
Finally, there is the general human rights record. In 2007, fully 2,830 abuse reports were filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Turkey, resulting in 331 judgments against Turkey. Add that to a total of 1,200 judgments in the previous 12 years.
In short, Turkey is in no position to criticize Israel about anything. They should recall the adage about glass houses and, rather than try to increase their clout in the Muslim world with their rhetoric against Israel, fix their own problems at home with regard to human rights.

No comments: