Kurdish conflict takes toll on Turkey’s image

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Critics of the AKP say that in attacking Kurdish civil society, the administration is repeating mistakes made by the government in the 1990s, an especially violent and repressive era in Turkish history.

The situation is bleaker than ever, said Ms. Keskin, who has defended minority rights in Turkey for almost 25 years and has been jailed several times for her criticism of the army and the government.

“I have witnessed terrible things in Turkey in the past 25 years: political assassinations, armed assaults and torture in prisons,” she said.

“But in all these years, I have never seen rows of people being arrested on such arbitrary and weak charges as today.”

Ms. Keskin said she thinks the Turkish leadership lacks the will to solve the conflict and protect minority rights. Turkey’s Western allies need to be more critical of Turkey’s democratic record, she said.

Turkey needs much more political pressure if it isn’t to move away even further from democracy,” she said.

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