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Turkey Rejects EU 'Grave Human Rights Violation' Claims in Syria

Turkey Rejects EU 'Grave Human Rights Violation' Claims in Syria

Sunday, 14 March, 2021 - 10:45
A displaced Syrian family in the Idlib countryside (AFP)

Turkey rejected on Friday the "grave" human rights violations claims in Syria laid out in a report by the European Parliament.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement over the issue, rejecting the claims and stressing that Ankara welcomed millions of Syrian refugees and still bears great responsibilities on its own because of the crisis in Syria.

On Thursday, the European Parliament expressed its deep concern over the persistent "political deadlock" and "the lack of any progress" in Syria. It also affirmed its opposition to any normalization of diplomatic relations with the Assad regime.

It also said that it "considers the upcoming 2021 Syrian Presidential elections to be lacking any form of credibility in the eyes of the international community in the current context."

The statement reaffirmed that a sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict cannot be achieved militarily.

It further expressed its "support to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2254 (2015) establishing a Syrian-led constitutional reform process, stressing that it deeply regrets the Syrian regime’s lack of engagement despite repeated engagement and readiness of Syrian opposition representatives to negotiate in the drafting of a new Syrian constitution."

The EU Parliament strongly condemned all atrocities and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Assad Regime and Russian, Iranian and Turkish actors and accused Turkey of jeopardizing peace in Syria, the Middle East, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Finally, it reminded all member states that "Syria is not a safe country to return to, noting that any return should be safe, voluntary, dignified and informed, in line with the EU’s stated position."

In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Ankara had carried out military operations in northern Syria against “terror groups” threatening the safety of Syrian and Turkish people, based on the self-defense right stipulated in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

It also said that the Turkish army has made great efforts to avoid harming civilians during these operations, noting that it succeeded in ridding Syrians of ISIS and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition, which Ankara considers an extension of the “banned” Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The statements were in reference to the operations that resulted in the voluntary return of more than 420,000 Syrian refugees to their villages, in line with the supervision of local forces affiliated with the Syrian Interim Government to maintain stability and security.

"The European Parliament should have slammed the YPG for their recent destabilizing increased “terrorist activities,” the statement stressed.

Turkey will continue confronting all terrorist organizations while striving to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis under UN Resolution 2254, it added.

It further called on the Parliament to realize the importance of Turkish contributions in Syria, in terms of protecting the NATO and Europe’s borders, as well as attempts to contribute to reaching a political settlement.

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