Kurds complain about human rights abuses “worse than 1990’s”

Tahir Elçi Human Rights Foundation and Rawest, a pollster focusing on the country’s Kurdish regions announced the results of their joint study, “Human Rights Perception of Kurds.”  Kurds who constitute an estimated 15% of the nation will become the swing vote in 2023 elections. They largely vote for pro-Kurdish equality party HDP, with AKP coming a distant second.  Yet, AKP throwing its lot with nationalist MHP, which made melting the Kurdish ethnic identity into the “Turkishness” of a monolithic nation, using only security policies, has allowed main opposition party CHP, to make significant progress among voters. In addition to unequal opportunity, this poll confirms the view that Kurds are essentially treated as second class citizens, subject to oppression of the worst kind.


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The results of the study show that the Kurds living in different parts of Türkiye believe that mostly Kurds, women, children and poor are subjected to violations of human rights while the mostly violated right is “the right to live.”


The study revealed that the participants aged over 30 express that the recent period and 90’s are similar with respect to the situation of human rights in Türkiye. The average of the participants’ scores has been 3,84 for today while 3,94 for 90s. This shows that the weight attached to human rights has dropped behind that in the 90’s.


What comes to your mind when you hear “human rights?”

The interviewees were first asked the question: “What comes to your mind when you hear the expression “human rights?” 33 percent of the interviewees responded saying “justice,” 24 percent “rights and freedoms,” and 10 percent “law.” Those saying “the right to live” and “welfare” were 5 percent each and those saying “women’s rights” and “education” were 4 percent each.


Human rights are being violated

79 percent of the interviewers answered the question on  human rights were being violated in Türkiye, saying “yes.” 8 percent said “no” while 13 percent said they did not have an idea.


Right to life being violated in Türkiye

72 percent said that the right to live was the most important human right. “Freedom of expression” “right to live” and “women’s rights” were the three mostly violated rights, with 63, 60 and 53 percent of the interviewees indicating them as the mostly violated human right respectively.


“Kurds and women subjected to violations of rights most”


The researchers also asked about the groups that are mostly subjected to violation of human rights. 67 percent responded saying the women, 61 percent the Kurds, 19 percent the poor, another 19 percent the children and 13 percent saying that the unemployed were mostly subjected to violation of human rights.


Ethnic identity most important cause for discrimination

According to the participants “ethnic identity” is one of the most important reasons for being subjected to discrimination. 50 percent of the interviewers said that ethnic identity was a reason for discrimination, while those saying that gender was a reason for discrimination followed next with 15 percent and those saying that religion and religious sect followed next, with 7 and 6 percent respectively.

39 percent of the participants said that they had been discriminated against for some reason in their lives until now. 52 percent of those who said that they had been subjected to discrimination also said that they were HDP voters.


The state was mentioned as the institution causing human rights violations the most. Participants listed the men, the media and the companies next for causing most human rights violations. The family was also listed among the institutions violating rights.


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Human rights not getting better

73 percent of the participants thought that the situation of human rights got worse in Türkiye in the last 10 years. The ratio of those who thought that human rights got better in this period was only 9 percent. 15 percent of the interviewers thought that the situation of human rights was the same in the last ten years.

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.