Turkey sanctions Syria for Human Rights Abuses


Emin Demir.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced the sanctions imposed on Syria on Wednesday, as a consequence of Syria’s brutal crackdown on protesters. The sanctions include a freeze on Syrian assets in Turkey and banning transactions with the Syrian central bank.

Syria has a population of 20 Million, 10% of which is Kurdish, and until recently they did not have citizenship rights, and were subject to systematic bias due to their ethnicity. While sanctions on Syria should be welcomed because of its barbaric treatment of protesters, it should be pointed out that Turkey’s attempts to brush up its bloody past can’t be done easily.

Turkey wants to create the illusion that it upholds Human Rights, lets take a look at Turkey’s treatment of Kurds;

  • (1) Kurdish language bans are still not completely lifted.
  • (2) Kurdish intellectuals are increasingly harassed, intimidated and a new nation-wide campaign of arrests have been on-going for the past year.
  • (3) The military campaign against Kurdish secessionists in Eastern Anatolia has been accompanied by numerous enforced disappearances, which also gave rise to judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.
  • (4) Systematic practice of torture in Turkey against Kurdish people
  • (5) Rise in cases of torture, beatings, and abuse by security forces.
  • (6) Increased intimidation of Kurdish journalists, 25-year old Emin Demir received 138-year prison sentence, she was the Editor of Turkey’s only Kurdish newspaper (the website is banned in Turkey).

There are many more examples, but suffice to say that Turkey’s past is paved with the blood of Kurdish and ethnic minorities, and until today sufficient measures have not been taken to negotiate with Kurdish, alongside other ethnic groups in Turkey.