Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gül Hosts Genocidaire

PHOTO FROM Today's Zaman

From the Turkish Daily News:
Turkey came under fire yesterday for hosting the controversial leader of Sudan for a summit of African leaders in Istanbul.

The visit by Omar al-Bashir marks his first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court accused him in July for charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Yavuz Önen, president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, condemned the government for inviting al-Bashir to Turkey for a second time.

“While the Sudanese leader is facing serious charges at an international court, the political support the authoritarian leader receives in Turkey is something that he does not deserve,” said Önen.

He also criticized Turkey for not signing the treaty that founded the International Criminal Court and said, “Why is Turkey running away from being a party to an international convention? This is rather controversial.”

As Turkey is not a party to the treaty, Turkish authorities are unlikely to arrest al-Bashir even if the court's international prosecutor is able to issue a warrant.

İlter Turan, a political scientist at Istanbul's Bilgi University, said no matter what its interests were Turkey should not have hosted a leader who is not approved of by humanity. Ankara wants to boost ties with the African continent and is also seeking the votes of African countries for its bid to secure a temporary seat at the U.N. Security Council.

“This drags Turkey into the front of wrong countries and impairs its image abroad,” he added.
To make matters worse, al-Bashir denied the genocide on Turkish soil and claimed the ICC charges and criticism from human rights activists worldwide were part of a Western conspiracy against his regime.

Shame, shame indeed, and especially at a time when Turkey should be moving to further its human rights image abroad. Turkey has not ratified the Rome Statute despite promises made by Prime Minister Erdoğan to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in 2004 that it would do so.

PHOTO FROM the New York Times
PHOTO FROM Brian Steidle

The village of Um-Ziefa is being burned by Janjaweed rebels receiving telecommunications and other logistical assistance from the Sudanese state.

Click here for a letter from HRW concerning al-Bahir's visit.

For more on the Darfur genocide and the crimes of al-Bashir, click here for a website Amnesty Internatinal has put together to document the atrocities.

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