Turkey, A Human Rights Emergency

Against the Current, No. 184, September/October 2016

David Finkel, for The Editors

ON JULY 15-16, an abortive coup in Turkey — of murky origin, to say the least — was staged and rapidly defeated, in part because the civilian population of all political stripes came into the streets opposing a military takeover. In the wake of these events, however, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime has launched its own coup with a massive, unprecedented crackdown on all opposition forces, real or alleged.

The lists of tens of thousands of people to be arrested or purged from military, police, civil service, academic and teaching positions could only have been drawn up well in advance. With this sweeping mass repression, the absence of any due process or protection of people’s rights and the imminent restoration of the death penalty, Turkey is careening into all-out presidential dictatorship.

The implications for human rights and democratic freedoms throughout the region are extremely ominous. In addition to destroying what remains of the independent Turkish media, it appears that Erdogan is repairing relations with Russia and the Syrian regime, likely foreshadowing a brutal if not genocidal escalation of violence against Kurdish forces and the population. This is a global political and humanitarian emergency. An international outcry against the Turkish regime’s repression and military escalation, and allied powers’ complicity in it, is urgently needed.

Especially because Ankara’s war against the Kurds had already resumed even before the current massive crisis, we are publishing a section excerpted from “Dictatorship and Resistance in Turkey and Kurdistan” by Sarah Parker and Phil Hearse. The pamphlet was published earlier this year by Left Unity in Britain. The complete pamphlet can be ordered from www.leftunity.org; we highly recommend it for understanding the background of the current Turkish crisis.

September-October 2016, ATC 184