Rights group calls for “tough sanctions” on Turkey

The StopErdoganNow group says the EEAS is not taking concerns about alleged human rights violations in Turkey seriously enough.
Source: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

12 Apr 2021

An alliance of rights groups, called StopErdoganNow, wanted to send a letter to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, demanding that he presses the European Council to “impose tough sanctions on Turkey.”

The calls, signed by MEPs and partner human rights and community organisations, had taken on a fresh impetus following what is seen as the latest crackdown on human rights in Turkey. But Chris Wilson, spokesman for Stop Erdoğan Now, has said the letter was never delivered.

He explained, “We did not pass our letter addressed to Borrell to the EEAS since no officer of that organisation was prepared to receive it from us: they sent a secretary instead, which we felt was both disrespectful to the communities we represent and revealing of not taking our concerns seriously.”

“Our position is that the leaders of the EU have sacrificed respect for human rights on the altar of financial self-interest”

He said the visit of Presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel to Turkey last week was “premature, to say the least, and will give Erdoğan easily gained opportunities to use them for propaganda purposes”.

The visit was marked by an incident in which von der Leyen was forced to sit on a sofa far away from Michel and Erdoğan, who were sat on gilded chairs during a meeting between the three.

Wilson also said a recent statement issued by the European Council in response to the “many aggressions” of President Erdoğan's regime was “little more than a vague assertion that the bloc will be vigilant".

He said, “Its supine language belongs to a parallel world uninhabited by ordinary people, particularly those suffering immeasurably under Erdoğan's vicious regime.”

“The result will be that, yet another report will be submitted to yet another inconsequential meeting of the European Council, which will duly succeed again in failing to criticise, challenge or condemn Erdoğan's myriad violations of human rights.”

Wilson adds, “The pattern will continue: an emboldened (and increasingly insecure) Erdoğan will push the boundaries; a concerned European Parliament will debate the abuses, rightly highlighting the catastrophic effects on ordinary people.”

“MEPs will table another resolution calling for strong action; it will be carried by an overwhelming majority and Borrell, Germany, and the huge squad of eurocrats at EEAS will ignore it, just as they ignore Erdoğan's continuing oppression of Aramean Christians, Armenian minorities, Assyrian communities, the Kurdish people, political opponents, journalists, human rights activists and women.”

“To all those who are being imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, we say - don't worry: the European External Action Service is being "vigilant"

“Erdoğan continues to harbour Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and Hamas terrorists guilty of murdering Christians, Jews, Muslims and 'infidels'. Only strong actions will stop Erdoğan's authoritarian, imperialistic regime from hounding, hurting and harming more innocent people.”

He noted, “Our coalition of 30 human rights and community organisations will continue to call upon European leaders to heed the will of Parliament and impose "tough sanctions" on Erdoğan's regime.”

No one from the EEAS was immediately available for comment.

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