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President Erdogan should be tried for war crimes, European judge finds

PRESIDENT Recep Tayyip Erdogan must be tried for war crimes committed against Kurds by the Turkish state including the massacre of civilians and extrajudicial killings both in Turkey and abroad, a European judge declared today.

More than 120 international delegates gathered to hear the damning verdict of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) on Turkey and Kurds at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Tribunal president Philippe Texiere said that the PPT had closely examined the facts presented during a two-day hearing in Paris earlier this year where they heard harrowing testimony of “state terror” in the south-eastern cities of Nusaybin, Cizre and the Sur district of Diyarbakir.

He said the “crimes of the Turkish state” included random bombings of infrastructure, the targeting of water towers and the shooting of civilians “even those with their hands up waving white flags.”

Eyewitnesses gave accounts of the atrocities committed by the Turkish state, including the shooting of Guler Yamak in the stomach when she was eight months pregnant while she was trying to get her child to hospital during the military bombardment of Cizre.

Mr Texiere said the “key cause of the conflict is the denial of the Kurds’ right to self-determination” and detailed the disproportionate use of force against civilians and the “massive destruction of historical and religious sites and civilian infrastructures.”

Mr Erdogan ignored appeals from the PPT to attend the hearing and did not submit a defence to the charges.

Speaking directly after the verdict, North West England Labour MEP Julie Ward said it was “very emotional” to hear the outcome surrounded by so many friends.

“It’s an attack on an entire culture,” she said, saying that she was speaking from “a point of truth” about what is happening in south-east Turkey, having visited the scene of “many of the crimes” documented in Cizre and Nusaybin.

The PPT recommended that Mr Erdogan is tried for war crimes in Turkey, the state of emergency be lifted and the rule of law be restored. It called for an end to Turkish military operations in northern Syria and for the release of all political prisoners.

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