Turkey to face allegations of war crimes against Kurds

Turkey Kurds in Cizre
Support us and go ad-free

On 15 and 16 March, a tribunal in Paris will examine accusations of war crimes by the Turkish state against the Kurdish people. The tribunal’s judgment could have profound international repercussions.

‘Killings, torture and destruction’

Violence in the predominantly Kurdish south-east of Turkey has intensified since peace talks between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015.

In the period of July 2015 to December 2016, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented [pdf, p2] evidence of:

excessive use of force; killings; enforced disappearances; torture; destruction of housing and cultural heritage; incitement to hatred; prevention of access to emergency medical care, food, water and livelihoods; violence against women; and severe curtailment of the right to freedom of opinion and expression as well as political participation.

With the endorsement [pdf, p4] of Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and activist-academic Noam Chomsky (among others), a panel of judges will now consider accusations that the Turkish state has targeted Kurdish civilians with the purpose of terrorising the population.

It will also look at accusations that Turkish state agents targeted opponents with criminal acts, including carrying out assassinations in Turkey and abroad.

Power to the people

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is a direct descendant of the Russell Tribunal, which was set up by philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre to look into American war crimes in Vietnam and, later, violations of human rights in South America.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The founder of the PPT, Lelio Basso, aimed [pdf, p2] to:

build a bridge between the people and power.

The tribunal’s panel of judges includes academics, lawyers, journalists, and experts on humanitarian issues. The decision of the PPT will not be enforceable, but its findings carry considerable legal and moral weight at an international level. Vitally, the hearings can also shine a light on injustice.

‘The crime of silence’

At the Paris tribunal’s press conference on Wednesday 13 March (attended by The Canary), Tony Simpson of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation evoked Russell’s stated aim, to “prevent the crime of silence”, before concluding that:

the silence swallowing the suffering of Afrin and the Kurdish people really does need to be broken.

The Canary will report on the two-day hearing after its conclusion.

Featured image via Flickr/Nedim Yılmaz

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed