Stop the dirty war against the Kurds
"The denial of the democratic rights of the Kurds in Turkey is now well-known. Tourists who travel to Turkey help to prop up the regime." - Tony Benn MP
"We condemn the complicity of the British Government and UK companies, who share the responsibility for the repression of the Kurdish people by arming the Turkish regime." - Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT)
Few tourists visiting Turkey get to see or hear anything of this dirty war which has left over 20,000 people dead in the 13 year struggle of the Kurdish people for their basic rights and fundamental human freedoms in Turkey.
Today, the war extends to the tourist cities and resorts of the West [of Turkey] where the Turkish government maintains its cynical repression of the population through random arrests, systematic torture and 'disappearance' of all those who dare to speak out against state terror. The atrocities being perpetuated against the democratic opposition by the Turkish army, police and security forces spare neither women, children nor the elderly as is clearly attested by the human rights documents of Amnesty International, Helsinki Watch and even the US State Department's public documents.
But the Turkish authorities maintain their policy of absolute denial attempting to counteract the hard evidence of both human rights and news reports, spending millions of dollars on a sleek and colourful tourism campaign employing the biggest advertising agencies money can buy to cover up the brutal reality underlying colourful images of sunlit beaches, antiquities and holiday resorts . The personal danger to holidaymakers is a fact of life but the moral issues of holidaying in Turkey have never been clearer.
The Turkish government is carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds, just as it did against the Armenians in the 1920s. The Turkish economy is in threads and it is only the income from tourism and foreign credits which keeps its programme of repression afloat. Those who pay to visit Turkey's 'Paradise Preserved' assist in the destruction of one of the most ancient and little-charted lands in the world, the heartland of Kurdistan, home to the Kurds for more than 4,000 years. What Turkey should be proud to boast of as a uniquely preserved, rich culture belonging to a distinct and ancient people, the Kurds, it is intent upon destroying on the ludicrous basis that all Turkey's citizens must be "Turkish".
Over 350,000 troops are now stationed in the Kurdish provinces to ensure that the programme of destruction and extermination is complete. This costs Turkey some $5 billion of its 'defence' budget each year, spent to fight its own people. It is tourism which fuels this budget and helps maintain the war. Your tourist dollars can help change history to preserve life not destroy it.
Be aware of the choices you make if you holiday in Turkey. If you want to see the real Turkey, travel to the Kurdish south-east and witness how your money is being spent, destroying vast acres of forest, the wildlife and the very inhabitants who lived there long before the first Turkish conquerors descended from Central Asia. The mentality of conquest must end and equality be ensured for all who live within Turkey.
Tourism constitutes one of the most important sources of income for the Turkish government. If you holiday in Turkey, much of your money will be used to subsidise the Turkish war machine.
Every year the military spends up to US$10 billion (GNP 20%) on this bloody war.
For more information contact: Kurdish Information Centre
10 Glasshouse Yard, London EC1 tel +44-171-250-1315 fax +44-171-250-1317