Shame on you, Prime Minister
“Look, there are 170,000 Armenians in my country ; 70,000 of them are my citizens. But we are tolerating another 100,000. So, what will I do tomorrow, I will say to those 100,000, it’s time for you to go back to your land ; I will do this. Why ? Because they are not my citizens… I have no obligation to keep them in my country. This is to say that they [the Armenians] take our cordial approach negatively, and they are not aware of it.”
These shameful words belong to a statement, which the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave to the Turkish Service of the BBC on Tuesday, March 16, during an official visit to London.
The expressions suggest that the Prime Minister, who has been infuriated by the votes of the US House of Representatives and the Swedish Parliament regarding the Armenian Genocide, has chosen as target the Armenian immigrants from Armenia and Georgia, who seek to eke out a living in Turkey. Lately, these highly vulnerable migrants have become an easy victim for politicians in Turkey. And they are targeted even though they lack any sort of social protection and individual security. The fact that they live under the constant risk of expulsion from Turkey and that they are repeatedly reminded of this threat calls to mind the Ottoman policy of 1915 to deport Armenians. These migrants, although insignificant in view of Prime Minister’s considerable power are apparently the only ones on which such power could be exercised.
We would like to remind the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey that :
No one leaves the soil, on which he or she is born out of pleasure ; and no one stays in a foreign country if she or he cannot find a proper job ;
Humane treatment is a universal right for everyone, also for an Armenian illegal migrant worker ;
The official ill-treatment, which these immigrants are subjected to, is a disgraceful hate crime ;
It is unacceptable that the fate of thousands of vulnerable people is turned into a bargaining chip to counter the decisions of parliaments in third countries ;
It is obvious that these words will also implicate the Armenians of Turkey ;
Finally, these expressions constitute a massive contradiction for a Prime Minister, whose country prides itself in a global outlook and purports to bring together civilisations, to reconcile warring fractions everywhere and to normalise relations with Armenia.
We, the undersigned civil society organizations
Initiative stop racism and nationalism (Irkçılığa ve Milliyetçiliğe DurDe Girişimi), Women’s cooperative AMARGİ (AMARGİ Kadın Kooperatifi), Anticapitalist Students (Antikapitalist Öğrenciler), Women’s initiative for peace (Barış İçin Kadın Girişimi), Artist initiative for peace (Barış İçin Sanat Girişimi), Conscientious Objectors Platform for Peace (Barış İçin Vicdani Ret Platformu), Platform « Birbirimize Sahip Çıkıyoruz » , Art Company (Boğaziçi Gösteri Sanatları Topluluğu), ÇEKEV, DSİP, Diyarbekir Communication Platform (Diyarbekir İletişim Platformu), Istanbul section of the Labor party (Emek Partisi Istanbul İl Örgütü), Home Workers trade-union (Ev Eksenli Çalışanlar Sendikası), Civilian Youth (Genç Siviller), Solidarity with Migrants Network (Göçmen Dayanışma Ağı), Human Rights Association(İnsan Hakları Derneği), İzmir Women Solidarity Association (Imiz Kadın Dayanışma Derneği), Kaos GL, Kumbara art Studio (Kumbara Sanat Atölyesi), Coalition for Peace and Universal Justice (Küresel BAK), Universal Action Group (Küresel Eylem Grubu), LAMBDA İstanbul, Nor Zartonk, Trade Union Initiative about Violence against Women (Sendikalarda Şiddet ve Ayrımcılığa Karşı Kadın İnisiyatifi), Association for Social Change (Sosyal Değişim Derneği), Association for Social Solidarity (Toplumsal Dayanışma Derneği), Association for Peace on Earth (Yeryüzüne Özgürlük Derneği), Green Party (Yeşiller Partisi), Association Yüzleşme Derneği, Coalition one million Steps (70 Milyon Adım Koalisyonu), 78’ards’ Initiative (78’liler Girişimi).
Condemn this minds that seems even today to be inclined to the idea of deportation, and demand that the disgraceful political haggling on the backs of defenceless immigrants is terminated immediately.