Turkey’s problem is with PKK, not Kurds: official

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Kurdish residents in Cizre bid farewell to a young man killed in earlier Turkish military operations. File photo: DHA

ARA News 

ANKARA – Turkey has no problem with Kurds, said the Turkish deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek. However, the Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Turkey director disagreed.

The statement comes ahead of a cabinet reshuffle planned by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Turkey has no quarrel with our Kurdish brethren! It’s only combatting terrorist groups that have been terrorising Kurds and attacking Turkey,” he said, in reference to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

However, Human Right Watch’s Turkey director Emma Sinclair-Webb disagreed. “Why have you suspended 1000s of Kurdish Egitim Sen member teachers again crippling education system for Kurdish kids in SE?” she said.

Speaking to ARA News, Dr. Janroj Yilmaz Keles, a Research Fellow at Middlesex University, said: “It seems Mr Mehmet Şimşek either lives on Mars or attempts to deliberately cover up the ongoing racist and discriminatory policies and coercive practices of the ethnic-centred Turkish state against the Kurds. In particular the ongoing human rights violations, bombing and destroying the Kurdish cities and towns and displacement of the Kurds form their homes.” 

“Moreover, United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner, Amnesty International and US-based watchdog Human Rights Watch are talking about the killing of civilians, extrajudicial killings and displacement against the Kurds by the Turkish security forces,” Keles said.

“Most recently, the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said at the opening of the 33rd Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that there are evidence of killing Kurdish civilians including women and children. Hussein declared that he will send a monitoring team to investigate the human rights violation in Kurdistan of Turkey,” he told ARA News.

“If Mr Şimşek believes that the Turkish government has no hostile policy against the Kurds, then his government should authorize and not prevent the UN monitoring team, international human rights organisations and media outlets to investigate the human rights violations committed by the Turkish forces,” he stated.

Şimşek himself is an ethnic Kurd, born in 1967 in a small village in Batman, a province in the Kurdish-majority Southeastern Turkey.

“In doing this, Mr Şimşek attempts to demonstrate to the AKP decision makers that he is a useful Kurd for the Turkish state and AKP government. However, I do not think that the Kurds are interested in being “Kurdish brethren” of Turks but they demand an equal citizenship, teaching and developing their culture and language, and a fair representation in local and national institutions as well as having equal opportunities in labour market and economic life,” Keles told ARA News.

Şimşek’s statement might be related to the ongoing purges within the government. There are rumours of another cabinet reshuffle in the coming days.

“The Turkish Prime Minister will mostly likely go for a cabinet reshuffle. Therefore, I would interpret the highly demagogic statement of Mr Şimşek as an attempt to keep his post in Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s new cabinet,” Keles said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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