human rights watch

söndag 21 september 2014

Boycott Turkey, the Black Sheep of NATO Amy Kurmanj

Boycott Turkey, the Black Sheep of NATO  
Amy Kurmanj

Boycott Turkish imports, goods, services and all travel to Turkey 

If a major US ally and NATO member were guilty of supplying the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization with funds, training, logistics, weapons, transportation, access to recruitment and an open border, we would probably want to reconsider that alliance and membership, wouldn't we? In fact, that country could then be defined as a state sponsor of terrorism and subject itself to international discipline, if not military intervention, as part of the global war on terror. 

Well, that's exactly what we have with Turkey. There is overwhelming evidence that Turkey is directly supporting ISIS on all levels. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was even doing it openly at first, with the stated intention of assisting with the international effort to overthrow Syria's Bashar al Assad. It has become more obvious recently that Erdogan's support of ISIS has more to do with Turkey's fear of Kurdish self-determination in the region and an attempt to disrupt and destroy those aspirations. Never mind the fact that this narrow-minded approach has resulted in the creation of an unprecedented threat to the stability and security of the entire Middle East, if not the world. 

In Turkey, there are neighborhoods known to be ISIS recruitment centers. New international recruits travel through Turkish airports, often on Turkish charter planes. They post the selfies to prove it. ISIS fighters are being given arms and equipment, transported across the border into Syria under Turkish military escort and then brought back for medical treatment in Turkish hospitals when wounded. Even Turkish political opposition parties have accused Erdogan and his party of directly supporting ISIS and have demanded an official inquiry into the matter. 

Turkey has denied US and coalition forces the use of its military bases and airspace for conducting combat operations against ISIS, with the excuse that 49 of its diplomats were being held by the group and any Turkish involvement could jeopardize the lives of those hostages.

Those hostages have now been released, but Turkey has yet to come forward with any substantive offer of participation in the US-led coalition against ISIS in the region. Could that be because Turkey cannot simultaneously support and oppose the terrorist group? Is Turkey afraid to take on the monster it created or is it still intent on using that monster to accomplish an agenda? 

We, the international community, refuse to stand idly by and watch these horrific images of beheadings and mass slaughter. We can no longer stomach these reports of children being raped, tortured and murdered. We will not tolerate the sex slavery, rape and the selling of women. And while the US and international community figure out how they are going to deal with ISIS, we as consumers know exactly what to do. We may not be able to defeat ISIS with our dollars (or lack thereof), but we can make a meaningful dent in the threat they pose by putting financial and political pressure on one of its largest and most valuable supporters, Turkey. 

Therefore, we are launching an immediate, worldwide boycott of all Turkish imports, goods and services, as well as all travel to Turkey. 

Editor's note: The views expressed are the author's alone.

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