Turkey: Stop the cycle of violence

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In Spring 2016, War Resisters' International launched a new campaign focusing on the escalating cycle of violence in Turkey. Initiated in response to demands from WRI activists in Turkey, the campaign has included two delegation visits to Southeast Turkey and Istanbul, a report and a research document on the situation in the country, a petition calling on the European Union not to lose sight of the situation in Turkey and to take action on the escalating violence in the country, an advocacy trip by human rights defenders from Turkey to Europe, and a number of observer visits to the trials of human rights defenders in the country. More recently, we have been working on organising a nonviolence training to take place with the participation of peace and human rights activists in the country.

To support our work on Turkey, you can donate us here, and for any queries, you can reach us via info@wri-irg.org.

An international delegation organised by War Resisters' International visited South East Turkey between 25-30 April. The group, including activists from Austria, Germany, Spain and Sweden, visited Diyarbakir, Cizre and surrounding towns affected by the curfews and armed conflict that have been ongoing since August 2015. During their visit, the delegation met officials, peace and human rights activists in the region.

International delegation went to Diyarbakır and Cizre

“Europe has failed us”, is the bitter statement often heard in South East Turkey currently. “We thought that Europe stood for human rights and peace, but unlike when there was war in Turkey in the 1990s, nowadays nobody cares what is happening to us”. An international delegation has visited South East Turkey. The group – organised by international pacifist network War Resisters' International - concluded that the violent conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK has caused enormous suffering and traumatisation among the civilian population of the Kurdish regions of Turkey. According to reports, since August 2015 at least 338 civilians and an unknown number of combatants have died, and more than 400,000 civilians had to flee their homes. According to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, about 100,000 of these people have no houses to go back to since their residences were totally destroyed.

Today, a delegation organised by War Resisters' International arrived in Turkey. The group will be visiting Diyarbakir, and towns affected by the curfews and armed conflict that have been ongoing since August 2015. WRI activists, including the Chair Christine Schweitzer, will have meetings with human rights groups, peace activists, and officials in the region.

Since August 2015 the conflict between the Turkish government and Kurdish groups in the Kurdish regions of the country has been escalated into a new spiral of violence, with hundreds of deaths on both sides and a deteriorating humanitarian crisis, accompanied by grave violations of human rights from arbitrary imprisonment to extra-judicial killings.

International peace organisations, including War Resisters' International, are appealing to the European Union to not lose sight of the situation in Turkey. The renewed war in south-east Turkey is taking place largely away from the attention of the international public: instead terrorist attacks, the war in Syria, and the refugee issue dominate the agenda. But in the face of violence and human rights violations in the war between the Turkish government and PKK regions, we demand that European politicians no longer look away. For that purpose, we have created a petition directed at the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Federica Mogherini. Join us in our appeal here.


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