Crowe raises concerns over Turkish elections
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, raised his concerns over the recent bombings and attacks against Kurdish and left wing activists in Turkey with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, in the Dáil, and directly with the Turkish Ambassador in the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee.
Deputy Crowe said:
“I raised my concerns about the lack of security deployed to protect citizens attending peaceful and democratic rallies in Turkey, especially during the run-up to the election.
“Rallies of the left wing and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) were specifically targeted and they had to stop campaigning in the election after suicide bombers attacked their rally in Ankara, killing 102 civilians.
“I was surprised that in Minister Flanagan’s reply to my questions he welcomed that the 1 November elections took place in a largely peaceful atmosphere. It is also worrying that he continually stated that the elections were conducted in an ‘open manner’.
“His views contradict the statements of the many independent election monitoring groups that were present, such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observers, who said that the Turkish elections had been overshadowed by a climate of fear. The observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, (PACE) went further and denounced the entire process as ‘unfair’.
“Minister Flanagan failed to take these independent reports into account and with the gravity that they deserved, and the continued crack down on civil and political rights in Turkey, as he ended his reply with his believe that we need to continue to work with the new government in a spirit of positivity.
“Media reports from the country suggested that there was intimidation and arrests at polling stations in predominantly Kurdish regions in the east of Turkey. There were reports of the army being stationed at voting sites, threats and active attempts to block people from voting, ballot boxes moved with voting in process, the electricity going out in a couple of very critical voting areas, and being observers kicked out of polling places.”
Speaking on his meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Ireland, Deputy Crowe said:
“I also raised these pressing issues with the Turkish Ambassador who also sought to dismiss them. This is not acceptable and Sinn Féin will continue to raise them at all levels.
“We also had a lengthy discussion on the refugee crisis and Turkey’s EU accession talks. The Ambassador was critical of the current impasse in Turkey’s EU accession talks and blamed so-called ‘artificially created political obstacles.’
“I believe that the accession delay is more to do with the country’s deteriorating and poor democratic standards, as well as the central issue of its continued illegal occupation of northern Cyprus, which partitions a current European Union Member State.”