Consideration of the periodic report of the Republic of Turkey Fifty-Seventh Session of the Committee against Torture

Mehmet Ferden ÇARIKÇI 27.04.2016

Consideration of the periodic report of the Republic of Turkey Fifty-Seventh Session of the Committee against Torture

Mr. Chairperson, Honourable Members of the Committee, and Distinguished Participants,

I would like to thank you all for attending the consideration of the periodic report of Turkey.

Turkey is being subjected to an intense campaign of unfounded allegations by some circles without even being given the benefit of the doubt. It is not unusual for such circles to exaggerate. But the exaggerations in the case of my country come dangerously close to being outright lies. It is clear that such circles are politically motivated and cannot be regarded as impartial. The political motivation of such allegations by itself is a criterion for their inadmissibility.

An effective human rights system should determine first of all whether violence is legitimate in a given situation. In fact, any organized violence, even if theoretically free from terrorism, is bound to inflict considerable suffering on civilians, given the high destructive capability of modern weapons and the fact that contemporary conflicts usually take place in civilian areas. It is thus essential not to encourage or support violence under the pretext of promoting human rights.

The international community by and large turns a blind eye to the methods of combat practiced by terrorists, including the use of terror to subjugate members of the ethnic or religious group on whose behalf they are allegedly fighting. Moreover, persons willfully participating in terrorist activities are wrongly regarded as civilians.

The second major flaw in this approach is that no resolution exists to outlaw the terrorist type of combat and no mechanism to report to for the human rights of the many thousands of innocent civilians massacred by armed terrorist groups all around the world. The result is a false picture being painted, in which states appear to be massively violating human rights and brutally repressing those whose only fault is to ask that their human rights be respected. No consideration is given to the question of who has resorted to arms (and thus to violence), what sinister methods of combat they engage in, and who is actually killing civilians. The Pollyannaish implication is that state repression is the main cause of the problem and that, one the state halts that repression and grants legitimate rights, terrorism would come to a natural end.

The third major flaw is thus the politicization of the issue and its increasing divorce from legality. In that way, whether deliberately or unwittingly, one contributes to ethno-nationalism and tribalism.

These three major flaws, coupled with the insufficient level of coordination regarding terrorism and violent extremism within the UN system and among Member States, impair the ability of the human rights system to curb the rise in violence and to promote democratization.

We are pleased to note that Turkey’s report has attracted considerable attention. The questions and comments by the Members have been duly noted and will be carefully evaluated as they merit.

In this respect, I would like to emphasize that this dialogue has allowed us to make a comprehensive reflection as to how the Convention is properly implemented and what progress Turkey achieved in this direction.

We will keep on addressing challenges with courage and try to find solutions based on contemporary human rights rules, norms, and of course the letter and spirit of the Convention. In addition to the progress achieved so far, we will spare no effort to reach higher standards in the future.

I would like to thank the representatives of all Turkish state agencies who have been working diligently in order to answer the Committee’s questions and to address the concerns in a satisfactory manner. At this point, let me assure you that all recommendations made in the concluding observations document will be considered with due diligence.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the Secretariat of the Committee and to the interpreters for their valuable contribution.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.


Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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