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Moscow calls on Ankara not to use force for Kurdish problem settlement — official

Turkey continues systematic intense violence against the Kurdish minority

MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. Moscow has urged Ankara to give up on the dead-end military scenario of settling the Kurdish problem, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said on Friday at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council. The text of his speech was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Friday.

"Turkey continues systematic intense violence against the Kurdish minority", the diplomat said. "According to Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, more than 300 civilians have been killed during the so-called "antiterrorist operation" conducted by the Turkish government since July 2015."

"Tanks, aviation and artillery have been used against the Kurds," the official said. "Contrary to international humanitarian law norms, the force has been used indiscriminately and excessively. These actions have been condemned by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, as well as by a number of non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch." "According to reports of journalists and eyewitness accounts, it’s a picture of horrifying cruelty," Lukashevich said. "The massacre of unarmed civilians that hid in basements in Cizre by the Turkish military causes particular concern."

"Such developments in Turkey cannot be considered civilized," the diplomat said. "The Turkish civil society whose opinion the authorities are trying to choke off by force also realizes this." Lukashevich added in this connection that at the beginning of this year, there was a series of arrests in Turkey of representatives of the academic and intellectual circles who signed a petition entitled "We won’t be a party to this crime". The petition urged Ankara to "abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region" and criticized Turkey’s military operations in the southeast of the country.

"Against this background, it is surprising that the United States and European Union have given no clear-cut assessment to the violence against the Kurds," Lukashevich said. "Obviously, it’s another manifestation of double standards, depending on the political situation." "We should not forget that Turkey, conducting an operation against the Kurds, violates its OSCE human rights obligations, including on the national minorities and the relevant international humanitarian law norms", the diplomat said.

"We call on Ankara to give up on the dead-end scenario of settling the years long Kurdish problem and secure the rights of the country’s Kurdish civilian population", Lukashevich said.