Consumer Boycott of Turkey

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"We'll finish terrorism but we are being held back by human rights and democracy" -- General Ahmet Corekci, Deputy Chief of Staff, July 1995

"Turkey is not a liberal democracy, but a country governed by the resultant of a number of forces uneasily and unstably balanced against each other ... " -- Lord Avebury, House of Lords, July 1997

Turkey is a pariah state, a state that needs to be isolated from other nations until it shows the same degree of respect towards its own people and neighbours as it wishes to be accorded to itself.

Turkey has a long history of bloody repression stretching back to the Ottoman Empire. Repression within Turkey is well documented - Kurds, lawyers, journalists, human rights campaigners et cetera.

Turkey has shown aggression towards its neighbours - Greece (disputes over the Aegean Sea), Cyprus (invaded July 1974 and still occupied), Iraq (invaded May 1997 and again May 1998).

Turkey has had a destabilising effect upon its neighbours due to its meddling in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Southern Republics of the old USSR.

Turkey, this century, has practised a policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide towards minority groups within Turkey and within occupied Cyprus - massacres of Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, forced displacement of Greek Cypriots and destruction of Greek cultural heritage.

Turkey is a primary source and conduit of heroin into Europe. Money from the proceeds is laundered through Turkish occupied northern Cyprus. Occupied Cyprus has become a safe-haven for internationally wanted criminals, for example Asil Nadir who built his corrupt and fraudulent Polly Peck empire on property looted from Greek Cypriots. Turkey has refused to extradite Asil Nadir to the UK.

The West acted in Bosnia, primarily through public reaction and pressure, partly as the situation had to be contained else Greece and Albania would have been drawn into the conflict, followed sooner or later by the rest of the Balkans.

The West has said that the shelling of Albanian villages by Serbs and the forced displacement of Albanians is not acceptable. Can the shelling of Kurdish villages by Turks (over 4,000 villages destroyed) the forced displacement of Kurds (more than 3 million) be any more acceptable?

The whole region is unstable. Turkey is a time bomb waiting to implode.

Turkey is a member of a number of Western organisations - NATO, OSCE, EU Customs Union, Council of Europe. Until Turkey complies with the democratic underpinnings and respect for human rights upon which these organisations are based its membership should be suspended, followed by termination if there is no improvement.

Constructive engagement has been tried with Turkey and failed. Turkey has reaped the benefits and failed to deliver anything in return. For many the brutal attack on peace campaigners who were part of an ill-fated mission to instigate peace talks between Turks and Kurds was the last straw.

As a matter of sanity the West has to cut arms sales to Turkey. These weapons are used for internal repression and external aggression. Major suppliers to Turkey are: US, Germany, UK, France, Sweden, Japan.

Pressure has to be applied on politicians to severe all links with Turkey.

Whether or not the West agrees to isolate Turkey, the consumer can. Turkey requires hard currency to purchase its weapons.

Consumers should boycott holidays in Turkey, boycott produce from Turkey. If you see produce from Turkey, explain to the manager or shopkeeper why you find it offensive and that it be withdrawn from the shelves. Tell travel agents why they should withdraw from Turkey and why it will not be on your holiday itinerary.

Consumer boycotts can be very effective, as we have seen in South Africa, and with boycotts of Shell, BP and Nestle. A worldwide boycott of Holiday Inn, forced the chain to pull out of Chinese occupied Tibet.

To be effective the boycott has to be widespread and across all countries.

The boycott is already starting to take effect. Trade Unions within the UK are refusing to carry advertisements in their journals for holidays in Turkey.

Within the UK, Sainsbury's (a major supermarket chain) are selling dried apricots 'produce of Turkey', they are also selling face flannels 'made in Turkey'. Financing repression in Turkey does not enhance their family image. Fill out their in-store complaints form, phone their free phone customer care number 0800-63-62-62.

Within the UK, Holland & Barrett (a chain of health food shops) are selling dried apricots 'produce of Turkey', they are also selling other dried fruit 'produce of Turkey'. Selling blood stained fruit does not enhance their image of selling healthy and wholesome food.

All dried apricots on sale in the UK appear to be sourced from Turkey. There is the need for an alternative source. In the meantime we will have to go without.

More can be done. It is for you, not only to boycott Turkey, but to ask your friends and colleagues to join you in the worldwide boycott of Turkey. Is your trade union, college, organisation or company enforcing a boycott of Turkey?

Turkey ~ Cyprus
(c) Keith Parkins 1997-1998 -- June 1997 rev 2