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.

The Working Group Stop the Cycle of Violence in Turkey published a new booklet, Protection from Afar: How to support people in Turkey and visitors to Turkey in cases of persecution and arbitrary arrest. The booklet provides insights and advice about how to respond to the cases of persecution and/or threats to the safety of human rights defenders in Turkey where physical protective accompaniment is not feasible. 

The military offensive launched into north-eastern Syria without deriving even the slightest lesson from what is happening today, is imposed on the society as if it was an indisputable necessity. Its reason, on the other hand, is quite clear: the political power’s need to manufacture social consent as it struggles with governance problems due to the economic, social and political crisis brought about by the erroneous policies pursued.

At the beginning of March 2018, Ahmet Alcan declared his desertion from the Turkish army, becoming the only person to publicly announce their refusal to take part in the war in Afrin. Ahmet left the army just three days before his deployment. “Together with me two other soldiers were called up. It seems that they have to take part in the operation in Afrin.

At first sight, not much in Istanbul shows that the country is at war. The queues of tourists at passport control are long. Everything is running as normal. Main shopping roads like İstiklal are full of people. But those who travel by metro often have to change trains at Yenikapı station, where you now find an exhibition glorifying war and the military.

The Turkish military has been running an operation called 'Olive Branch' in Syria since 20th January 2018. Reports from the region show the human cost of the ongoing operation, including hundreds of dead as well as injured; and show how it has fuelled conflict in the region. War Resisters' International stands in solidarity with activists in Turkey supporting peace and opposing war in Syria, Turkey and elsewhere. Here we share a statement from the Human Rights Association and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, which WRI's Turkey Working Group endorses, on the ongoing military operation in Northern Syria.

On 24 April 2017, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the second hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender from Turkey imprisoned last October. Below is the statement of the international delegation, including Andreas Speck from War Resisters' International, explaining their concerns from the trial yesterday.

This is an urgent call from the Human Rights Association (HRA - Turkey) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) with whom WRI has been working for many years. In the morning of the 15th March, M.Raci Bilici Chairperson of Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır Branch and Vice-Chairperson of İHD Headquarters has been arrested along with 11 old and new representatives of the NGOs in Diyarbakır. As reported by the HRFT alleged charges are not learned yet due to the confidentiality order on the investigation file.

With the increasing need for solidarity with Turkish civil society, the Bund für Soziale Verteidigung (Foundation for Social Defence) - a WRI affiliate in Germany - are fundraising for 1,400 Euros to print our Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns in Turkish.

This money would go to the Istanbul Nonviolent Education and Research Centre who will then distribute the handbook for free in their nonviolence workshops and trainings. Please help activists in Turkey to improve their skills in nonviolent action through using this handbook!

Please donate here.

The trial of three human rights defenders and journalists from Turkey, who are being tried due to their participation in a freedom of expression campaign for a pro-Kurdish daily newspaper, began in Istanbul on 8 November. War Resisters’ International, together with many other national and international organisations, were ready at the courthouse to support Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the journalists Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin.

The trial against the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the journalist Erol Önderoğlu, and the writer Ahmet Nesin began on 8 November. The prosecutor accused the three of producing propaganda for a terrorist organization because of their participation in a freedom of expression campaign for the pro-Kurd newspaper Özgür Gündem.

Before the hearing, international and local observers were invited by the Medical Chamber Istanbul for a gathering in their centre. On a morning gathering, the International Forum for Justice and Freedom, they emphasised their solidarity with the accused.

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