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ICC applicant says informing world of AK Party's crimes his human duty

by Today's Zaman on . Posted in News

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ICC applicant says informing world of AK Party's crimes his human duty

The businessman who recently took atrocities committed by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) against Turkish citizens from various backgrounds to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said he feels it is his duty to oppose cruelty.

Kani Kudu -- a businessman who recently petitioned the ICC, accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and many members of his government, the editor-in-chiefs of pro-government newspapers, many bureaucrats and others of crimes against humanity and genocide over the government's mistreatment of Gezi protesters, the murder of 35 Kurdish civilians while they were crossing the border with Iraq back into Turkey and the treatment of the Hizmet movement -- told Today's Zaman that he does not really expect the court to accept his petition.

Experts also agree that the court in The Hague will likely dismiss the 25-page petition, which details some actions of the AK Party government, arguing that the government has committed crimes against humanity. However, experts also note that the businessman's application might have some relevance and significance for activists who might consider taking the same atrocities to other international courts.

Kudu said that his lawyer has spoken to ICC officials, who will now schedule an appointment with Kudu after processing the petition. Kudu said he will make sure that all world leaders, human rights organization, embassies and diplomats in Turkey receive a copy of his application to the ICC. He also said he will soon take the same issues to the Constitutional Court. He further noted, "I will take these acts of cruelty to the European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR] and the United Nations." He also said he will continue to give a platform to the voices of oppressed groups or any other group that has been subject to cruelty in the country. He said that different segments of society in Turkey have been subject to oppressive and discriminatory policies of the government. "What is being done against Hizmet," he said, referring to the social movement inspired by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania, "can be done against any other group in the future."

Kudu's petition described at length the plight of the families of the 34 Kurdish civilians who were killed in an air strike staged by the Turkish Air Force in December 2011. Officials said the air strike had been a mistake caused by false intelligence suggesting that those attacked were terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members. They turned out to be smugglers trading across the northern Iraqi border. Those responsible were never brought to justice. Kudu argued that Erdoğan should be tried for war crimes by the ICC for his role in the deaths of the Kurdish civilians.

The businessman also said Erdoğan and former Interior Minister Muammer Güler should be tried for crimes against humanity over their role in the suppression of the Gezi Park events of 2013, where six civilians and two security officials -- Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Abdullah Cömert, Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz, Mustafa Sarı, Ahmet Küçüktağ, Ahmet Atakan and Berkin Elvan -- died. The petition quoted Erdoğan as referring to the protesters as "rapists, vandals, barbarians, feeble-minded and traitors."

The discriminatory practices of the AK Party government against the Hizmet movement, which became particularly harsh after a corruption investigation into the government and its allies in the business world became public in late December 2013, were also included in the petition.

Last year, a major corruption investigation implicating Erdoğan's inner circle and himself became public. Erdoğan responded to the corruption claims by accusing the Hizmet movement of plotting against his increasingly authoritarian rule, and has purged thousands in the police force and hundreds in the judiciary that the intelligence units who report to him believe to be affiliated with Hizmet.