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Twenty-four brave women in Cizre.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- I write these lines at the exact moment when 24 brave women from western Turkey are arriving in Cizre to show solidarity with its inhabitants and to call for peace. I try to understand why I think them brave. I try to understand why that which is happening in Cizre, and has happened in many -- too many -- places in Turkey since its foundation (and even before), is against Turkey's own values.

The Turkish state presents itself as "... a democratic, secular and social state governed by rule of law, within the notions of public peace, national solidarity and justice, respecting human rights, loyal to the nationalism of AtatE-rk ..." (Article 2 of the 1982 Constitution). I leave, for the moment, the other principles and especially the vague concept of "nationalism of AtatE-rk," and I will concentrate on three principles stated in the Constitution: democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Let's keep in mind that these three concepts are the "umbrella principles" of the Council of Europe. Turkey is an (almost) founding state of the Council of Europe, and the Constitution of 1982 mentions all three principles. Thus, they constitute a "package" and are inseparable. They are twice binding for Turkey as a member of the Council of Europe (an external obligation) and as constitutional principles (an internal obligation).

There are two simple rules in force in all democratic systems respecting the rule of law and human rights.

The first rule is: Nemo punitur pro alieno delicto, meaning literally -- let no one be punished for the fault of another. This maxim prohibits collective punishment under international human rights law and national penal codes.

Cizre -- pretexting the presence of hypothetic "terrorists" -- became, for eight days, a besieged city. During this blockade, almost 150,000 inhabitants of the city were imprisoned in their houses, some of them without food or clean water, this in 2015 in Turkey. There was this 74-year-old man who decided to not respect the curfew and go and buy some bread. Snipers shot him, and his body remained on the street until morning. A child was killed and, because of the curfew, her parents couldn't bury her so had to put her body in the freezer. At least 20 people died. Let's imagine for one second that there were actually Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) "terrorists" in that town. And let's imagine that they were really criminals (something that cannot be decided without a fair trial); 150,000 people have been "punished" and are still being punished because of others' "crimes." To be a state, a democratic one, respecting the rule of law and human rights is not easy. But that kind of state cannot simply adopt the same behavior as any group or organization. That is, the famous argument of "yes, but PKK..." cannot work. If it works, it is no longer a state. A state can defend its territory, but not at the cost of human life, any human life, and especially the lives of its own citizens. I do not know if the PKK is a terrorist organization or an armed force of people claiming their rights. And frankly, on a basis of principle, it does not matter: A democratic state, respecting the rule of law and human rights, cannot besiege its own city and punish its own citizens. If you cannot interiorize that, it means that you accept that there is a civil war in this country.

The second rule is also well known: nullum crimen nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali, which means -- There exists no crime and no punishment without a pre-existing law. In other words, a crime cannot be invented and punished afterwards. There must be a pre-existing law. There must be something legal to criminalize a particular behavior. "Yes, but PKK..." is not enough. It is a state, and a state cannot act without a legal framework. To say it frankly, what is the crime of these 150,000 Turkish citizens to be punished by confinement and even by death? Which court decided this? And based on what evidence and witness? People are dying, and their deaths are justified by the presence of "terrorists" in a neighborhood. This is simply wrong: legally wrong, politically wrong, but especially morally wrong. It could be accepted in the 1990s when it wasn't possible to know the truth. It is not acceptable anymore.

Turkey is violating its own principals to save the power of one single man and to protect him and his relatives from the huge accusation of corruption. Turkey is violating its own principals as it is a founding member of the Council of Europe and therefore the principals of the Council of Europe are not being imposed from the outside. Ankara is an architect of these principals. It is violating its own values, values that are stated in black and white in the Turkish constitution.

These 24 women are brave, and not because they dared to go to Cizre. After all, why would going to another city in their own country be considered brave? They are not brave because they dared to go, as Turks, to the Kurdish part of Turkey. Again, why would meeting other citizens of other identities of the same country and sharing their pain and misery be considered bravery? No, they are brave because they dared to go against their own group, a group in western Turkey taken by a warlike madness, a target of nationalist propaganda, a group that loves to be provoked, and one that is ready to dig up the hatchet. They are brave because they dared to be direct witnesses to Turkey violating its own principles and values. How I wonder what it is to be in Turkey, to be a woman as brave as they are, to find myself in a back seat on that bus entering a grieving Cizre.

SAMyM AKGEuNE[pounds sterling]L (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Sep 18, 2015
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