UK Parliament to debate crackdown on pro-Kurdish activists, politicians in Turkey

The UK Parliament will on Tuesday debate Turkey’s treatment of pro-Kurdish activists and civil and political organizations after a report by a group of MPs found Ankara is conducting a sustained crackdown on them, The New Arab reports.

The report, titled ‘Kurdish Political Representation and Equality in Turkey’, was published in June 2021. It was written by the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan in Syria and Turkey, a group of Labor, Conservative and SNP MPs supportive of improved rights for Turkey’s largest ethnic minority.

It is not just pro-Kurdish groups who are being targeted, the report said – journalists who have written in criticism of government policy have been detained at alarming rates, as human rights organizations have documented.

Though long targeted by Ankara, pro-Kurdish groups have seen a sustained crackdown since 2015, the year a peace process between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed rebel group seeking greater autonomy for Kurds in Turkey, broke down.

The HDP performed well in the 2019 local elections, and they were punished for it. Just six of 65 elected mayors from the HDP have been allowed to hold office up until today; the rest, including the mayors of some of the biggest Kurdish cities in the country, have been removed and replaced with trustees from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). MPs have also been stripped of their parliamentary immunity. Some have been arrested and detained on terror-related charges – namely, providing financial assistance to the PKK.

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