TURKEY AWAITS INTERNATIONAL JUDGEMENT
by Roni Alasor and Robin Alarengin
Paris, 15-16 March 2018 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED - International People’s Tribunal in Paris documented strong evidences for Turkish war crimes and terror against Kurds during 1990s and after April 2015 when Erdogan cut the dialogue and peace process with Kurds. The final judgement against Turkey and Erdogan will be announced in the EU Parliament in April. Following the hearing of witnesses and examining the evidences, the lawyers and observers expect that “Turkey and Erdogan will be convicted of crimes against humanity”.
Around 400 lawyers, jurists, academicians, observers, victims, witnesses and human rights defenders participated in the International Permanent Peoples Tribunal in Paris on 15-16 March. The Permanent court which was set to investigate the terror and massacres of the Turkish state against Kurds from 1990s until now and the killings of three Kurdish women politicians in Paris in 2013, was supported by 77 European and international human rights organisations, NGOs and 260 personalities.
Over 60 observers were following the hearing during these two long days and 33 witnesses, as well as several victims and experts explained case by case the violations, but also showed thousands of pictures and electronic evidences/documents on the screen.
A panel of two prosecutors and seven international judges carried the investigation into alleged breaches of international humanitarian law by the Turkish Armed Forces within Turkey. Among the judges were Philippe Texier, retired French magistrate and former member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Domenico Gallo, former senator and secretary of the Defense Commission, Norman Paech, jurist and professor of political science in the Hamburg University, well known Belgian-Flemish lawyer Jan Fermon, Dennis Halliday, former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Luciana Castellina, politician, journalist and Italian writer, former member of the European Parliament, Majid Benchikh, Emeritus Professor of International Law at the University of Cergy-Pontoise, former President of Amnesty International in Algeria. Teresa Almeida Cravo, Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, at the Humanities, Migration and Peace Studies Research Group, and an Assistant Professor in International Relations at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra.
The foreign, non-Kurdish participants were deeply shocked over the crimes against Kurds in Turkey during 1990s and after Erdogan’s taking of power, particularly after April 2015 when he decided to cut peace negotiations with Kurds and overthrew the peace table into a heavy war until now.
Concretely, the international Tribunal focused on several main questions. The first relates to the crimes committed by the Turkish state against Kurds during 1990s, including bombing of Kurdish daily Ozgur Gundem, the destroying or burning of 4000 Kurdish villages and the killing of 17 000 Kurds by “unknown” murderers. Among the killed were many Kurdish politicians, lawyers, writers and around 400 members of Kurdish political party DEP-HEP.
The indictment, secondly, focused on targeted assassinations believed to have been conducted by Turkish intelligence. In particular, one high profile case involves the murder of Sara Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez - three Kurdish women activists that were murdered in the Kurdistan Information Centre of Paris in January 2013, the crime happened during the peace negotiations between Turkey and the Kurds. According some the observers of the Tribunal, the Paris killing case was the best example for organised Turkish terror acts against Kurds outside the country. The lawyers and witnesses on that case have shown very clear evidences and statements proving the responsibility of the Turkish state for the murder.
There have been also other evidences supported by witnesses who said that that Turkish state led by Erdogan still tries to assassinate many Kurds in Europe, while European secret-intelligent services just observe without arresting the killing teams in Europe.
Thirdly, the Tribunal had a close look at the alleged war crimes conducted by the Turkish state after the collapse of the peace talks between Ankara and the Kurds in 2015. Right after that, the Turkish Armed Forces began an assault on Kurdish cities like Diyarbakir-Sur, Nusaybin, Cizre and Sirnak. The collective massacres of over 140 Kurdish youths in different basements in Cizre in February 2016 was another turning point of the crime. Many thousands of Kurdish legal politicians have been arrested since 2015 and many of them are still in prison, including Selahattin Demirtash.
The Tribunal also assessed the general situation in Turkey after the attempted coup on 15 July 2016. Using the coup as a pretext, thousands of Kurds have been incarcerated, among them 9 deputies of the Kurdish HDP and 56 Kurdish mayors. More than 150.000 officials have been dismissed, among them 5.122 teachers and 4.463 judges and prosecutors, hundreds of journalists have been arrested, press organisations have been forbidden, three thousand schools, universities and university residences have been closed.
The Tribunal aims to gather the proofs for Turkish war crimes and will pronounce its judgement based on the recounts of the witnesses and the collected photos and documents. The entire talks of victims-witnesses, experts, lawyers, jurists, academicians and human rights defenders and all documentations/evidences of these two days Tribunal will be archived and the decision of the Peoples Permanent Court will be given to European Human Rights Court, EU Parliament, UN, NATO and international organisations. The Peoples Permanent Court will announce its decisions and release documents at press conference in the EU Parliament in April 2018.