ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)–The Human Rights Association (HRA) Committee Against Racism and Discrimination Istanbul branch recently released an official report entitled, “A Racist War is Waged Against the Kurds in Turkey.” After a two-week investigation, the group confirmed that the war currently being waged against the Kurdish people is “racist in every aspect.” To collect their information, the HRA formed a delegation that visited areas in Turkey affected by the war.
The report includes a list of seven reasons that backed their claims, and concludes that war is being waged with both open and generalized bitterness, resentfulness, and hatred against the Kurdish people.
According to the report, many people in Turkey regularly shout derogatory comments on the streets about the Kurds; walls and streets are covered with several pro-Turkish and anti-Kurdish messages, such as “Long live the Turkish race,” “If you’re a Turk, be proud! If you aren’t, obey,” “There is one God, and his army is Turkish,” as well as many other similar statements.
HRA also referenced a mass murder on Oct. 2, 2015, in which a group of people heading to Friday prayer were attacked by another group screaming, “You are all Armenians, we will kill you all.”
‘This is a racist war, because it invites racist attacks and lynching attempts, each of which encourages the next, throughout society. This war licenses the entire society to racial hatred and violence as an ordinary and arbitrary right. By dehumanizing part of the society, it feeds society’s genocidal tendency.’
The report also concludes that people in the areas generalize their hatred and resentfulness not only towards Kurds who seem threatening, but towards Kurds in general with “intensified destructiveness.” The HRA also claims that certain groups have been directly attacking Kurdish homes, property, and families.
The report cites a United Nations finding that “ people were captured in basements in Cizre and were burned alive. The state did not allow its now homeless citizens to use the tents stored in the municipalities—a blockade that defies even the laws of war. … In civil casualties, the remains of the dead were not returned to their families. … Bodies of the victims were left lying on the streets for days. Their spouses and children who went to retrieve them were also shot. … Funerals were officially prohibited.”
The report states that the region being attacked—one with a rich history, full of ancient neighborhoods, historical shops, churches, and buildings—was marked as a “World Cultural Heritage” site based on UNESCO standards. The group also claims that Turkish state supported and led to the destruction and burning of these places, as ancient cities—such as Surici and Hancepek—were demolished in recent attacks.
“This is a racist war, because it invites racist attacks and lynching attempts, each of which encourages the next, throughout society. This war licenses the entire society to racial hatred and violence as an ordinary and arbitrary right. By dehumanizing part of the society, it feeds society’s genocidal tendency,” reads a part of the HRA report.
The report states that there have been lynching attempts documented in more than 13 Kurdish cities, including examples of stabbings, beatings, expulsions from student housing and deprivation of education, raids, arsons, and threats. The report also cites an incident of Kurds being forced to hold a Turkish flag with “TR” (Turkish Republic) written on their foreheads.
The report also cites the grave restrictions on freedom of speech in the country, and the fact that a majority of journalists and reporters who are disciplined and reprimanded for their actions are Kurdish.
It also states that a “genocidal policy has been adopted,” and that the state has permitted and condoned these horrific, racist acts. “As the Human Rights Association, Committee Against Racism and Discrimination, we maintain that, ferocious racism, as enacted directly by the power of state, and condoned, permitted, pre-established, or provoked by the authorities, indicates that a genocidal policy has been adopted. Such racist practices constitute a crime against humanity and fall under the jurisdiction of international criminal law,” reads the conclusion of the report.