IHD & FIDH report: Turkey should review its Syrian policy

ANF – ANKARA 11.10.2013 – The delegation of International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) and Human Rights Association (IHD) has released the report prepared following two-days investigations on Turkey-Rojava border on 5-7 October.

IHD released the “Investigation and Detection Report on Turkey-Rojava Border Crossings” report in a press conference held by IHD President Öztürk Tandoğan.The delegation was made up of International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) President Yusuf Alataş, IHD President Öztürk Tandoğan, Vice President lawyer Serdar Çelebi, central executive board member Sevim Salihoğlu, regional representative Şevket Akdemir, Diyarbakır Branch Chair Raci Bilici and Adıyaman Branch Chair Osman Süzen.

Tandoğan pointed out that the delegation was formed in order to examine the current situation and refugee camps on the border. IHD President said that the report was prepared following investigations at Nusaybin/Nîsêbin, Ceylanpınar/Serkaniye, Şenyurt/Derbesiye, Akçakale and Kilis/ Öncüpınar border gates.

The points highlighted in the report are;

* A general instruction by the Ministry of the Interior has prohibited citizens of Turkey from crossing the border gates due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

* Nusaybin Customs Gate remains open for humanitarian aid on Turkey’s side but closed on the Syrian side.

* Şenyurt border crossing point is controlled by the military and is opened to the transfer of humanitarian aids once or twice a month. Authorities speaking to the delegation said the transfer of aids will be allowed every Wednesday in a week and once or twice a month from now on.

* Ceylanpınar border crossing point is controlled by the military and is closed to the transfer of humanitarian aids.

* Akçakale border crossing point is open to humanitarian aids and trade.

* Kilis Öncüpınar border crossing point remains closed due to the ongoing conflict between Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda and the ongoing control of Kazaz city by al-Qaeda.

* It is understood that Turkey displays a positive attitude towards the border gates and crossing points controlled on Turkey-Syria border by the Free Syrian Army, but an obviously negative attitude towards the border gates and crossing points controlled by the PYD (Democratic Union Party).

* 200 thousand Syrian refugees are staying in refugee camps and the rest 600 thousand living in different cities in Turkey through their own means, and this causes various social and cultural problems.

* Turkey avoids practicing laws concerning refugees and is displaying a practice just for handling the situation.

* There is an obvious camp problem for different ethnic and religious groups taking refuge in Turkey, with Kurds and Arab Alevites having no camps.

* The state provides no assistance for the refugees who do not stay in camps, meeting only their health expenses.

* Women refugees in Turkey are being subject to prejudiced and negative attitudes

* The prime minister’s office and ministries are keeping all their instructions on refugees and camps secret, and also denying human rights organizations permission to enter refugee camps, which reveals that the government is not running a transparent process.

Listing proposals for the resolution of the mentioned problems, the delegation called for the opening of all border gates to humanitarian aid and trade, demolition of the wall currently being put up on Turkey-Rojava border, initiation of effective investigations into the alleged cases of torture and ill-treatment against refugees in Turkey and those enabling al-Qaeda militants’ crossing into Syria from Turkey, development of a new policy against jihadist organizations such as al-Qaeda and al-Nusra, initiation of an urgent regulation to grant Syrian refugees with “temporary protection”, ending of discrimination against refugees and opening of camps to human rights organizations for examinations. The delegation urged Turkey to review its Syrian policy and to ensure ceasefire for the ending of the conflict in Syria, and called for the organization of the Geneva Conference, establishment of an interim government to help Syria’s democratic transformation, establishment of good relations with the Rojava government (Kurdish Supreme Council and PYD) and contribution to the advancement of the resolution and peace process.