Keskin: Without peace Turkey can’t be democratized

Lawyer Eren Keskin stated that the UCAVs are the new tool for extrajudicial killings and said the state that was founded with the Ittihat mentality has been implementing the same policies since the genocide of 1915.

Lawyer Eren Keskin spoke to ANF about the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) killing 1 civilian and wounding 3 in Hakkari’s Oğul (Tale) village and said the White Toros cars used in the extrajudicial killings of the ‘90s have been replaced by the UCAVs today. Keskin said the lynching campaigns launched against Sezgin Tanrıkulu who brought the issue to public attention are a sign for a serious issue.

Eren Keskin said extrajudicial killings have continued to cover up for Turkey’s crimes since the genocide of 1915 and stated that the inhuman atrocities against Seyit Rıza and Sheikh Said are no different from the extrajudicial killings of today. Keskin pointed out that despite Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s claims that the White Toros era of the ‘90s had ended and all extrajudicial killings would be brought to light, greater extrajudicial killings happen today still. Keskin said the UCAVs have turned into a tool used in extrajudicial killings and added: “It’s not possible to think of the UCAVs as ‘unmanned’, because they are still controlled by humans. These are weapons used by people.”

Eren Keskin said many rights violations have been left in the dark and new cases have been added on top of the old extrajudicial killing cases. Keskin stressed that those who claimed the era of the White Toros was over have made CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu who brought the massacre in Hakkari to public attention into a target. Keskin said they handle the lynching attempt in two aspects and continued: “On one hand there is the human rights violations and unsolved massacres by these vehicles, and on the other there is an attempt to silence the opposition who want to bring these incidents to light as their duty. This is serious.”

Keskin mentioned Tahir Elçi being targeted and later murdered for saying “PKK isn’t a terrorist organization” on a television program and stated that rights defenders are targeted by the government and killed. Keskin said: “Human rights organizations are founded to investigate the state’s human rights violations. We are the first human rights organization to report on the rights violations in Kurdistan. We continue to report on the UCAVs and the Jitem still. But the opposition being subjected to threats for speaking up about these things shows us that the era of the White Toros never actually ended.”

Keskin stated that Tansu Çiller still being active in politics and Süleyman Soylu’s appointment as the Minister of Interior Affairs after Mehmet Ağar said he is “like a son to him” shows that the same genocidal mentality still continues. Keskin stressed that Turkey can’t be democratized until peace reins in the lands of Kurdistan and added that they consider the recent incidents threatening. Keskin said: “We hear a lot of things about the UCAVs, but there are also the things people don’t make public. Because they are afraid. Today, whenever you speak of the slightest rights violation you are labelled a terrorist and this label affects your whole life. You can be imprisoned, you can be fired. We are at a point when people are afraid to speak of the rights violations they experience themselves.”

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