HDP-HDK: Torture at the borders must be stopped

Pointing to footage of brutal torture of Syrian men in the Turkish-Iranian border area, HDK and HDP said, "Turkey's borders have become the scene of persecution and death of refugees."

The HDK (Peoples' Democratic Congress) and the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) Commission on Migration and Refugees released a statement after the circulation of footage showing a group of Syrian refugees being cruelly abused by human traffickers at the border between Iran and Turkey. The video shows brutal scenes, and one man's ear is cut off. The recordings were sent to family members, and a ransom of 10,000 dollars was demanded for their release. Some of the group are said to have entered Turkey in the meantime, others have returned to Iraq.

Drawing attention to the Turkish government's deadly refugee policy in a joint statement, HDP and HDK said, "Turkey's internal and external borders have become the scene of persecution and death of refugees, of mutual 'pushbacks' and inter-state bargaining for refugees in the name of security. News of torture and ill-treatment, discrimination, injuries and deaths of people in border regions and deportation centres reach us almost daily," the statement said.

The HDK and the HDP stated:

"The securing of the border areas by the states and the European Union provides favourable conditions for human smugglers and trafficking gangs at the Turkish-Greek and Turkish-Iranian borders. Because Turkey does not recognise refugee status and pushes its pushback policy, refugees drown in the Aegean Sea, the Evros River and Lake Van or freeze to death in Ipsala and Van. Reports of investigations at the Van border and observations by locals have shown that traffickers have international networks and that state officials in the border area on both the Iranian and Turkish sides condone or collaborate with their crimes. In Van in particular, but also in Edirne and other regions, deaths and sexual violence against women and girls perpetrated, responsible for or caused by traffickers are widespread.

All the governments and imperialist powers, especially Erdoğan and the Ministry of Interior, who carry out warmongering, deportations and preparations for new occupations, are responsible for the persecution of the refugees at the borders. The fact that the imperialist powers that create the causes of migration and at the same time do not recognise and apply the right of asylum and violate the principle of non-refoulement is costing human life. Before it is too late, this mistake must be reversed. Torture at the borders must be stopped and traffickers must receive the punishment they deserve.

People fleeing must not be abandoned to the persecution policies of states and their collusion in the name of security. Policies and measures that endanger people's lives must be abandoned. Border regimes that breed violence, exploitation and racism must be fought together. Those who flee because of war, conflict and political oppression must be given access to their rights."