A Turkish flotilla of ships sailed to bring aid to the embattled people of Gaza, and its government denounced Israel for violating human rights, but those who spoke eloquently against oppression are remarkably silent when it comes to the oppression of Kurdish children in Turkey. Metin, a 15 year old Kurdish boy was arrested on charges of aiding Kurdish rebels, thrown into jail for five months, finally released, then thrown back in on charges of throwing rocks during a demonstration. In jail, he shared a bed with two other boys, was beaten by guards, “it was freezing in winter and in summer we couldn’t take showers. Police were rough and pressured us to confess to being supporters of the PKK.”According to Kurdish lawyers, children as young as eleven are imprisoned with adults, and denied access to legal counsel. Many are termed the “stone throwing generation” because at some point these children took part in demonstrations. As one Kurdish activist noted, ‘when they enter prison, they are just kids, when they leave they are militants.”
Turkish law makes not distinction between appearing at a protest and being a militant. If a parent takes their children to a rally, the children from that moment on are now termed to be terrorists! Place children in a jail with hardened militants, and there is scant doubt they will become what they were charged with being–a Kurdish militant.
Ironically, the Turkish government policies of uprooting Kurdish families, ejecting them from their villages, is more alike than different to Israel policy in the West Bank. Exactly, who are the oppressors?