The history of Turkish oppression and violations of the fundamental rights of the Kurdish people, starting from the right to self-determination recognized by international law, is long and atrocious, as numerous international researches and investigations denounce.

In breach of human rights and people’s rights, the Kurds are systematically excluded from any economic and political decision-making process; their culture is subject to destruction; the use of their language is prohibited in public; their political parties, newspapers and journalists are persecuted.

Just over a year ago (15-16 March 2018), the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal dedicated the Paris session to examine numerous complaints of violations of international law and humanitarian law, with specific reference to:

– war crimes committed in many areas of Southeast Anatolia, inhabited by a predominantly Kurdish population;

– State crimes (attacks and assassinations) committed in Turkey and abroad against representatives of the Kurdish movement, its media outlets and institutions.

Many  non-governmental   organizations   have   adressed   the   Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, an international opinion tribunal promoted by the Basso Foundation, as these crimes cannot be judged by the International Criminal Court (Turkey has not signed the Rome Convention that established this Court) faced with the inertia of the United Nations Security Council, which has so far failed to denounce the Turkish Government – as is its duty- to this jurisdiction.

The PPT jury, made up of authoritative and independent personalities, based on the 1966 International Covenant and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples held the Turkish State accountable for:

  1. having denied the Kurdish people their identity and right to self- determination, recognized by the in force international law, preventing any participation in the political, economic and cultural life of the country, repressed as a terrorist threat to the authority of the Turkish State;
  2. having committed massacres and mass deportations in the Southeast Anatolia, with the evident intention of carrying out the physical elimination of a part of the Kurdish people;
  3. having committed state crimes (murders, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances) in Turkey and abroad, whose perpetrators remained unpunished for lack of serious investigations by institutional

In particular, Erdogan was held responsible for the aforementioned crimes, because

– with his repeated declarations against the Kurdish population living in the regions of Southeastern Anatolia and with the arbitrary attribution of the status of terrorists to the Kurdish political leaders – he has incited and legitimized the military and police forces to use indiscriminate violence against them.

The current Turkish regime, internally, compresses the democratic life and tampers with the constitutional state, repressing the freedom of opinion and demonstration and imprisoning lawyers and magistrates; on the external level, it tramples on the three fundamental principles on which the international law, that was formed with the establishment of the United Nations, is based: the prohibition of war, which today constitutes an international offense; the universal protection of human dignity; the right of self-determination of peoples.

To this State, which violates all rights and endangers the world peace, the European Union member states, including Italy, have continued to provide deadly weapons, in addition to economic support, aimed at blocking the refugee population.

Beyond the political rhetoric that burns out in declarations, the credibility of Europe and Italy will be measured by the facts and by necessary and concrete initiatives, such as:

  • the implementation of any pressure for an immediate ceasefire;
  • the immediate cessation of any financial support and any supply of military equipment and technology;
  • the request for the immediate intervention by the United Nations Security Council for the adoption of all the measures envisaged by the UN Charter;
  • the request to suspend Turkey from the Committee of the Minister of the Council of Europe;
  • the freezing of the European Union Association Agreement with Turkey Rome, October 16th2019

Franco Ippolito

President of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal