Press release: We will uphold our right to live in peace!

The Turkish head of state made two statements within two days of each other (on the 29th of November 2016 and 1st of December 2016), the first espousing  actions which are considered criminal under the United Nations Charter, international agreements and universally accepted international law, and the second, repudiating them.[1,2] This not only betrays an unfortunate lack of seriousness, but also constitutes a dire threat to the country.

The intervention of one state in the affairs of another country, in order to try to topple the government by the use of force; to deploy, form or otherwise foster armed forces for this purpose, in the territory belonging to the other country, are termed as “aggression” under international law[3] and such actions are considered criminal.[4,5]

Regrettably, many different states and coalitions have intervened and continue to intervene in the Middle East especially since the Gulf War,  in violation of the UN Charter, in the absence of Security Council resolutions and in flagrant violation of international law.  For millions of people this has meant uncountable deaths, widespread devastation and mass migration.

War and peace are too important to be left up to the governments alone. We do not give our consent for trifling with the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with frivolous, contradictory declarations.  The right “to live in peace” is not just an abstract longing but a right which has been enshrined in international agreements.[6,7] We owe it at least to our children to uphold it within our country and the region we live in.

Ayşe Erzan and Bahadır Altan

Co-spokes persons

The Peace Block

5 December 2016

NOTES

[1]http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/637587/Erdogan_dan_cok_tartisilacak_sozler__Suriye_ye_Esed_in_hukumdarligina_son_vermek_icin_girdik.html

For English, see, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-entered-syria-to-end-al-assads-rule-president-erdogan.aspx?PageID=238&NID=106709&NewsCatID=352

[2] http://bianet.org/bianet/diger/181300-erdogan-in-hedefi-dun-sadece-esad-ti-bugun-sadece-orgutler

For English see, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-military-operation-in-syria-not-against-anyone-but-terror-groups-erdogan.aspx?pageID=238&nID=106779&NewsCatID=352

[3] Aggression has been defined  under the UN General Assembly resolution number A/RES/29/3314, dated 14 December 1974, Article  3. http://www.un-documents.net/a29r3314.htm

[4] The second article of the UN Charter can be considered to be the basıs of modern international law. Here, the notions of sovereign equality, non-intervention and  self-determination,  the peaceful resolution of conflict between states, the prohibition of use of force, and even the threat of the use of force, have been agreed upon.  http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-i/index.html

[5] Case concerning the military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) Judgement. http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/?sum=367&p1=3&p2=3&case=70&p3=5

[6] United Nations, Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, G.A. Res. 39/11. UN Doc. A/RES/39/11. (November 12, 1984). Cf.  http://www.un.org/Docs/asp/ws.asp?m=A/RES/39/11

UN Human Rights Council Resolution on “Promotion of the right of peoples to peace”, A/HRC/RES/14/3, 2008.

[7] Also see, Rıza Türmen, “Barış içinde yaşama hakkı,” (Right to live in peace) t24 (3.8.2015).  http://m.t24.com.tr/yazarlar/riza-turmen/baris-icinde-yasama-hakki,12443