Leaving the Mosque of the Faculty of Theology, Istanbul, (İlahiyat Fakültesi Camii) after Friday prayer, on 8 April 2016, President Erdoğan has confirmed his desire to strip those who support armed resistance of their nationality.

Under international law, everyone has the right to protection from a state. However, there are around 10 million stateless persons in the world. These include 4.5 million Palestinians, 1 million Burmese Muslims, 700 000 Burkinabé refugees in Ivory Coast, 500 000 Thaï and 270 000 Russians in Lithuania. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, « Statelessness can mean a life without education, without health care or a formal job, a life without freedom of movement, without any hope or prospects for the future ».

However, by espousing a supremacist ideology, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opens the door to extinguishing the nationality of any Turkish national who is not ethnically Turkish and for Turks that support them. Last July, he has deliberately relaunched the civil war, challenging his promise of equality for everyone. He has launched military operations, ordered the cease-fire in different Kurdish localities, seized Christian churches, and finally « neutralised 5 000 terrorists » (sic).

Need we recall that while a number of Kurds are well-integrated in big towns in the West of the country, the majority are relegated to poor regions and their culture is again being trampled on? Must we recall that while several Christian patriarchs are living in Turkey, the law forbids them building churches there?

Westerners who, blinded by their hatred of Syria, support the Turkish expansion and finance the war against the Syrian people, hardly reacted when on 5 April, he evoked the possibility of stripping those voting for HDP of their nationality. According to them, Mr. Erdoğan, who made his case before the Bar Council, is prepared to threaten jurists that challenge his policy. Furthermore, his Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, on his trip to Europe, has assured that it only an avenue.

However on 7 April, on receiving officers of the National Police, M. Erdoğan was threatening this time the followers of his former ally, Fethullah Gülen, whom he accuses of being « terrorists » because they refuse to condemn the Kurdish resistance.

Questioned by journalists on leaving Friday Prayer on 8 April, he clarified his thinking:
« I meant that all those that are involved in terrorist acts or who support terrorism must be sanctioned (…) they are not fit to be Turkish citizens. They are already in search of another citizenship or of the status of statelessness. It is unacceptable for a citizen of the Turkish Republic to betray Turkey, the Turkish homeland, or the Republic of Turkey. I do not think it right for those who betray the Turkish Republic to retain their citizenship», he responded.

Thus President Erdoğan envisages stripping of their nationality the 5 million voting for HDP, most of whom are from minority descent, and 1 million who are Sunnis of Hizmet, the movement of Mr. Gülen. If such a disaster had to happen, it would have an effect comparable to the Nakba and would necessarily set off a long armed conflict in the region.

Anoosha Boralessa
Al-Watan (Syria)