This week, as the Unconditional Justice Movement, we focused on minority problems and the violations of rights against Armenians that have been going on for years.
- Turkey has a wide ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity due to its structure. Not only Turks, Kurds, but also many Circassians and Armenians live on the territory of Turkey. However, instead of preserving this diversity, there have been harsh and sometimes violent oppressions applied to minorities in the name of nationalism throughout history, and these practices have increasingly continued during the current regime period.
- Minorities are in a disadvantaged position in Turkish society. The 10% electoral threshold prevents minority parties from entering the parliament. In the field of media, there are serious restrictions on radio and television broadcasts in minority languages, which have been banned for years. The use of minority languages in political life and public services is still prohibited. Textbooks reproduce stereotypes about minorities.
- There is also no effective legal mechanism against discrimination. Therefore, for generations, minorities have been condemned to live without the possibility of political participation, sometimes illiterate and deprived of their right to freedom of expression, and there is no effective judicial remedy against them.
- In a case concerning minorities; The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Turkey violated the property rights of minority foundations. The application made by the Fener Greek Boys’ High School Foundation in 1997 was decided. The Strasburg Court ruled that the property rights of the foundation, which argues that the existing legal regulations regarding the acquisition of property by foundations belonging to non-Muslim religious minorities in Turkey are restricted, and that this situation violates the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights on property rights and discrimination, has been violated.
- One of the biggest victims of this discrimination in Turkey is Armenians. Violence is a part of life for Armenians as well as for many minorities in Turkey, and this situation is getting worse with each passing day.
- Many rights violations have occurred and still occur in the events that have lasted for years and are fueled by the regimes. As is known, the symbolic event fueled by these hate speeches is the murder of Hrant Dink. Hrant Dink, who is also a human rights defender, was killed by the gunman Ogün Samast on January 19, 2007, in front of the newspaper Agos, of which he was the editor-in-chief. The Dink incident, which had received many threats before, brought the concepts of the deep state and nationalism to the agenda in Turkey.
- While there was no effective investigation and trial in the Dink case, the European Court of Human Rights, which decided the case upon the application, convicted Turkey for failing to protect Dink’s right to life and not conducting an effective investigation into his murder. The ECHR gave a unanimous decision in the case that Dink’s family handled by combining five separate applications filed on different dates. In the family’s application, it was also stated that Dink was “turned into the target of extremists after he was tried and convicted in Turkey”.
- The biggest obstacle in front of Human Rights is that the state and society do not accept all groups as minorities and equal citizens, regardless of their religion, language or ethnic origin. Once this acceptance is realized, the steps needed to achieve equality can be taken much more easily.
As the Unconditional Justice Movement, we demand that any group be guaranteed by the state without being subject to discrimination, and that the violations of rights should come to an end.