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Situation in the South East of Turkey

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Published on Feb 3, 2016

The policies of the Turkish Government are becoming increasingly erratic and authoritarian. The recent arrest of 27 academics is an extension of the already routine harassment and detention of journalists. Meanwhile, as a result of Turkey’s military campaign against the PKK, which is banned by the EU as a terrorist organisation, hundreds of Kurdish civilians have been killed and disproportionate curfews and the restriction of civil liberties are being imposed in Kurdish areas. Such a view is emblematic of the Turkish authorities’ continued view that it is the Kurds that should be viewed as the biggest threat in the region, rather than Islamist terrorists such as ISIS.

As evidenced by its policy in Syria, Turkey remains focused on preventing the emergence of a Kurdish enclave, rather than fully committing itself to fighting ISIS. Furthermore, there is evidence that Turkey is failing to cooperate in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe, and it is even, as reported in the British press, allegedly deporting some refugees back to Syria. It is time that EU leaders called on Turkey to live up to its NATO and EU candidate commitments rather than continually apologising for its slide towards autocracy under President Erdoğan.

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