"Just as many people in western Europe turned a blind eye to Hitler's preparations for the Holocaust in the thirties, the democratic world ignores the evidence of incipient genocide against the Kurds in Turkey today. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (Helsinki), the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, and the Turkish Human Rights Association have published many damning reports. The UN Rapporteur on Torture devotes more space to Turkey than any other country in the world. The Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, and the UN Working Groups on Disappearances and on Arbitrary Detentions all have long and detailed sections on Turkey in their annual reports." - Lord Avebury, House of Lords, 22 January 1996
"The nineties in Turkey have seen an unprecedented wave of political killings ... People are taken away by police or soldiers and often never seen alive again ... We must question whether the Turkish Government understands the meaning of the treaties it is sworn to uphold." - Amnesty International, the Observer, 27 October 1996
If you are thinking of going to Turkey for your holidays this year please take the following into consideration: Turkey has one of the worst records in Human Rights Violations in the World. Government sponsored terrorism and acts of extreme barbarism are common in Turkey and its satellite states eg Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.
The example illustrated is typical. Tassos Isaak was a recently married 24 year old Greek Cypriot man. On 11 August 1996 he went onto a demonstration against the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. He was singled out and attacked by members of a Turkish extremist organisation calling themselves 'Grey Wolves'. (This organisation is openly supported by the Turkish Government and in the past came to international prominence because of its involvement in a plot to kill the Pope.) With the active participation of Turkish soldiers and Turkish policemen Tassos Isaak was brutally beaten to death while lying injured on the ground. His skull was completely smashed as a result of multiple blows with iron bars and police truncheons. United Nations personnel watched the horrific scene unable to help.
The Government of Turkey is responsible for the murder of thousands of people like Tassos Isaak each year.
We strongly appeal to you not to visit Turkey and thus financially, morally and politically provide support for its suppressive government. Recently the European Community Council has taken the decision to halt all economic aid to Turkey unless definitive steps are taken to improve human rights in that country. No such steps have been taken so far. By not spending your holidays in Turkey you will be assisting the EEC and Human Rights Organisations Worldwide in their efforts to save lives and bring about democratization in Turkey.
Please think beyond the glossy holiday brochures. Please think of the suffering of innocent people like Tassos Isaak. Please stay away from Turkey this year.
We thank you for your understanding and we wish you a pleasant holiday in a democratic country.