Sadet Karabulut answers questions on the attempted coup in Turkey and what it means for the Netherlands

21 July 2016

Sadet Karabulut answers questions on the attempted coup in Turkey and what it means for the Netherlands

Foto: SP

Last Friday the Turkish army attempted to effect a coup d’état to bring about the fall of the government. The coup failed, but the consequences for the country are huge. President Erdogan reacted with mass arrests, and with the suspension and sacking of tens of thousands of judges, civil servants, academics and others. Opposition news sites have been blocked and journalists’ press cards removed. Moreover, military personnel who carried out the coup have been severely maltreated. There has even been talk of reintroducing the death penalty. Meanwhile, tensions in the Netherlands are rising. Five questions to SP Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut on the events of the past week.

What does the SP think about the failed coup by the Turkish army?

The SP is extremely concerned about the situation in Turkey. Conflicts within a country should be resolved democratically, not with a military coup. You would have hoped that Friday’s horrible events, which led to hundreds of deaths and even more casualties, would have served to bring the parties closer together. Because that’s what Turkey needs now. But the opposite is the case.

So you’re opposed to the coup. Does this mean that you support the Erdogan government?

Nor in the least. We don’t want to see a coup, but neither do we want a dictatorship of one man who is taking ever more power to himself. In recent years the situation in Turkey, under Erdogan’s leadership, has deteriorated badly. The rule of law functions totally inadequately, oppositionists and academics are being eliminated, freedom of expression is restricted and journalists arrested and locked up. And a war is being waged with disproportionate violence and devastation of towns, leaving hundreds dead. The country has an urgent need for democracy, equal rights and freedom for all of its inhabitants.

What is the SP asking of the government and of the EU?

Our government and the EU have concluded a dirty deal with Turkey on the reception of refugees, a deal in which human rights are bargained away and Erdogan’s autocratic politics legitimised. We must not allow ourselves to be held to ransom but make it clear that there can be no question of Turkey becoming a member of the European Union. Liberalisation of visa rules for Turkey’s seventy million citizens can’t be granted. Our government must match word to deed and do what it can to support democracy in Turkey. Anti-democratic laws must be altered, press freedom and pluralism respected, and the peace negotiations with the Kurds resumed. In addition, arms exports to Turkey must be restricted.

Tensions are rising in the Netherlands, too

The problems in Turkey are having repercussions here. Groups of people are coming more and more into conflict with each other. Polarisation is increasing. It’s our right in the Netherlands to demonstrate, but intimidation, threats and violence have no place in this. That’s unacceptable and disgraceful. Victims must be protected, perpetrators brought to justice, as befits our rule of law.

But how are we going to counter this polarisation?

In the Netherlands we live side by side and have equal rights. Yet there are organisations in our country which are extensions of Turkish politics, and the government has for years cooperated with these groups. An end must be put to this as soon as possible. We have to work to combat every form of discrimination and segregation in our society. That’s an important task for the government and also for ourselves. Demand Turkish nationality, so that together we can solve our common problems in the Netherlands.

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