Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), in Istanbul, Turkey, October 31. Demirtas has criticized the U.K. and U.S. for ignoring alleged human rights abuses.
The U.S. and Europe are ignoring alleged human rights abuses in Turkey to further their own political ends, a pro-Kurdish opposition politician from the country has said.
Writing in The New York Times, Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said: “Both Europe and the United States have turned a blind eye to the human rights violations in Turkey’s Kurdish towns over the past year.
“Europeans did so because they were desperate to strike a deal with Mr. Erdogan to get Turkey to contain Syrian refugees.
“Washington, for its part, feels that Turkey is indispensable in the fight against the Islamic State [the militant group also known as ISIS].”
After the peace process between Turks and Kurds broke down last year, Turkey has suffered escalating conflicts in its Southeastern region.
The Human Rights Watch NGO says, on its website, that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “has demonstrated a growing intolerance of political opposition, public protest, and critical media.”
“The breakdown of a peace process and escalating conflict between Turkish security forces and the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in towns across the Southeast has led to mounting civilian deaths and multiple rights violations,” it adds.
Demirtas also accused Erdogan of unfairly cracking down on the HDP. “Mr. Erdogan is targeting our party precisely because we stand in the way of the authoritarian order he is trying to establish,” he wrote.
“All of this is anathema to the despotic, male-dominated nationalism fueled by Mr. Erdogan.”
Demirtas’s damning assessment comes after a deal struck in March between Turkey and the EU to manage the continent’s migration crisis came in for heavy fire from the U.N., aid agencies and politicians.
Speaking in the European Parliament, liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt slammed the EU during negotiations for “giving in fact entrance keys, the keys to the gates of Europe…to Erdogan, I should even say maybe to Sultan Erdogan.”
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