European Parliament Holds Debate on Turkey and Human Rights

European Parliament, Paris, France 06/01/2018 - European Parliament at the session. Siavosh Hosseini/The Media Express

The European Union Parliament held a debate on February 6 regarding the current human rights violations seen in Turkey, but it was clear that there were multiple issues being addressed. The introductory remarks of the debate were focused on both human rights violations in #Turkey, but also acknowledged the issues that Turkey is currently dealing with, primarily terrorism and the war in #Syria, which sits on Turkey’s southern border.


European Parliament, Paris, France 06/01/2018 – European Parliament at the session. Siavosh Hosseini/The Media Express

Turkey has been one of the active countries in trying to negotiate peace within Syria, but there are concerns that a new front is being opened up on Syria’s border, as Turkey prepares to defend itself from the fighting that is now crossing its border.

Speakers noted that the crackdown on democratic opposition voices in the wake of terrorism has resulted in a securitized Turkey, one where any voice of opposition to the #government is clamped down upon. Legitimate opposition is being silenced in real life and on social media, according to various members.

Part of the concern about the situation in Turkey revolves around the treatment and attacks on the Kurdish WYP, which is currently fighting ISIS along the border of #Syria and Turkey. The U.S. has supported the WYP with training and has its troops in the same area. Turkey continues to request in strongest terms that the U.S. withdraw their support of the WYP, which the Trump administration has declined to do. This conflict is setting up a potential clash between the U.S. and Turkey, two allies.

There was also a point put forward by several speakers that the current government of Turkey is moving away from the values of the European Union(EU), which should have a bearing on Turkey’s application to be part of the EU. Others noted that Turkey is moving away from the rule of law and many examples of the rights of the Turkish people being curbed.

There were also calls to curb imports to Turkey and also for members of NATO to examine their relationship with Turkey. The biggest concern seems to be the reality for the Kurdish people, who are being targeted by the current Turkish government. Protesters and even those who express an opinion on social media are being put into prison and losing their jobs without any legal recourse.

Throughout the speeches, it was noted several times that the European Union needs to send a clear message that the current actions of Turkey against its citizens will not be tolerated by the EU and its members.

Turkey was continually urged to respect humanitarian law and to stop targeting civilians, as well as allowing aid to those areas that have already dealt with military actions in their territory.

The high commissioner of the EU was urged to take a strong stand against the human rights violations, as well as condemning recent chemical attacks along the border of Syria and Turkey.

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