Document by Turkish Peace Association in Cooperation With Lawyers for Justice , Dec. 2013
We, the lawyers and the members of Peace Association of Turkey who are in favor of peace, followed every day of the war in Syria. What we saw, heard and encountered in our country became a matter of conscience for us. We repeatedly declared that we are opposed to a political and military intervention against Syria. We will once again remind you the reasons of our stand by this Report. However, the Report in hand, points out the crimes against humanity which caused the deaths of thousands of people in Syria; the crime of aggression committed in a way to disrupt the atmosphere of peace; war crimes committed publicly and the identities of their perpetrators. We are in the opinion that the greatest contribution to peace will be the jurisdiction of these criminals.
We think that all crimes committed against humanity which are defined in international law bound all mankind. We also feel unity with the Syrian people who stand out to the imperialist intervention. On the other hand, it is well known that these crimes are not only committed inside Syria, but there are also accomplices in our country.
The Report is written in a time when the military intervention is temporarily withheld and the efforts by the accomplices to cover up and to trivialize the war crimes have increased. The main purpose of the Report is not only to find the responsible ones that turned the country to an uninhabitable place but also to prevent the criminals or those who are responsible from playing with the destiny of mankind in the future as if nothing happened and warrant that they pay for their crimes.
We are aware that the judicial powers of the states which provided every support for the parties of the war in Syria and the perpetrators of the crime of aggression are not independent. Because of their reluctance of taking any steps ex officia in this respect, we once again witness that the supreme judicial powers of these states are set up as the saver of their political powers. Correspondingly, it is well read that international law mechanisms and proceedings do not introduce fair examples and losing parties are usually tried on international penal trials. Even though the crimes committed against humanity are defined as the most serious crimes on international law documents, they are de facto “untriable crimes”. We recognize this as one of the tragic consequences of imperialist aggression era.
However, we as the lawyers and the members of Peace Association of Turkey, declare to the public opinion that crimes against humanity are committed in Syria and instigators are on state level. We declare that we will perform our liabilities as lawyers, for the trial of criminals and to operate the regulations and persecute our complaints in the name of all mankind.
We present our war crimes study Report to the attention of public opinion with the hope that this Report may sustain power to peace and that we will never be in a position to prepare another report on this subject.
War in Syria can be subject to pages of articles and evidences. Usually information and documents regarding a war or a clash could be reachable after years but in Syrian case everything is happening in front of our eyes. As a matter of fact many of the information are being served to the public opinion by the clashing groups.
However, a report related to the crimes committed in Syria has a limit with respect to containing all of these information and documents. For this reason, we chose to deal with some specific events and to emphasize certain issues in order to have a competent and effective report.
Report begins with explanations regarding why and how these events developed. After this topic, the crimes are listed, qualified, perpetrators and findings are discussed. Turkey is discussed separately in that topic. Again, the legal processes in Turkey are presented in another topic. Finally, considerations are carried out with respect to the crimes and the criminals in the light of all information in the conclusion section.
§2. Syria and background of clashes
Syria declared its independence in 1946 and until now it has a secular, cosmopolite society where people from different beliefs could live together peacefully. Bashar Assad came into power by election after the presidency period of his father Hafez Assad which started in 1970 and ended in 2000 with his death.
Syria’s population consists of Sunni Muslims (74%), Allawite, Shiite and other Muslim sects (16%), and Christians (10%). Therefore it is obvious that there is no possibility for an Allawite dictatorship to survive and the Sunni majority is also supporting the present government. Last October Sunni and Christian religious authorities of Syria gathered in Latakia and declared that they support Syrian government and they stated that terrorists turned Syria into bloodshed1.
American intervention against Afghanistan and Iraq followed by imperialism’s restoration plans in Middle East by the “Global War on Terrorism” argument put forward by USA after 9/11. In the beginning, the anger of the rebelling people with economic, democratic and social demands was seen as a consequence of the world economic crisis and considered as a “progressive” transformation of Middle East which called as “Arab Spring”. In fact, subject uprisings were being associated with the “Moderate Islam” project and the region was being integrated with the capitalist world. Syria in this period, and all “spring” States previously pushed to partiality on Sunni and Shiite base.
15 March 2011, the date which events started is called the “Day of Wrath” was a milestone in terms of the protest in Deraa and in terms of the number of protestors. Bashar Assad had carried on
neoliberal politics and decreased agricultural support after he came into power in 2000. Discontent with these policies lied beneath the unrest.
Support to the groups challenging the Syrian Government continued though weapon and logistic aid delivered by the USA and some of the states neighboring Syria despite of Bashar Assad’s granting citizenship to Kurds on April 7th 2011 and the lifting of the public emergency situation after 48 years on April 19th 2011 and his order not to open fire on demonstrators on May 19th 2011.
Constitutional amendments were accepted by referendum realized on February 26th 2012 with an 89,4% approval vote. This cleared the way for multi-party elections and legal opposition against the government.
Syria’s masses calling on their government was related to the impoverishment they had encountered on the articulation period. This happened while the capitalist world together with the religious reactionary movements and imperialists maintained control of the “Arab Spring”. But soon, oppositional groups with weapons performing attacks and assassinations against administrators and civilians which can be defined as gangs or organized armed groups replaced mass protest. These groups which in no way represent Syrian people committed not only acts of violence but also atrocities, slaughter and all acts we listed as crimes. Such crimes show their principles in practice.
Death toll reached to 120.000 according to UN as of September 2013. It has been declared that 61.067 civilians among them 6.365 children and 4.269 women, in total 133.043 people lost their lives by October 30th 2013.
A UN Report published September 3rd 2013 gives evidence of the cost of ongoing disturbance of peace in terms of human migration. The Report stated that Syrian refugee number is more than 2 million. It has been underlined that this number of 2 million represents the people registered or waiting to be registered as refugees. In other words, there are more emigrants than expressed in this number. Refugee numbers are declared as 110.000 in Egypt, 168.000 in Iraq, 515.000 in Jordan, 716.000 in Lebanon and 460.000 in Turkey by August pursuant to the Report. 52 % of this population are children at the age of 17 or less. On August 23rd 2013 UNHCR announced that among Syrian refugees there are more than 1 million children2.
§3. Crimes committed in Syria
A. Consideration of the Rome Statute on Crimes
War crimes, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, these categories of crime are subject to the international law, independent of being subject of national law. These crimes became triable and defined by a charter on July 17th, 1998. The historical and systematic development of these crimes can be traced back to the beginning of 19th century.
July 17th 1998 the Rome Statute, known as ICC’s founder statute which defines the subject crimes was approved by UN bodies.
Definition of crime and punishment and also being triable undoubtedly was an essential and historical step independent of the practical consequences. The Rome Statute is referred to in our Report as a document which determines the criminal acts committed in conformity with the definition because the power of ICC which is established by the Rome Statute is restricted to state parties. The Statute is not functional for non-state parties like Turkey, USA and Israel as criminal law’s basic element of being triable is missing in this condition. (?)
As it is mentioned in the first part, ICC practice contains controversial aspects in terms of the non-existence of an independent trial. Unfortunately, trial of international crimes is dependent to the international power balances.
Putting aside the above mentioned, the definition basis of war crimes and other related crimes studied in our Report are taken from the Rome Statute as it is a universal legal document evaluated with the similar and related crimes that fall within our criminal system.
B. Qualification of the crimes committed in Syria
War Crimes, the crime of aggression, crimes against humanity which could be categorically evaluated as in the same level tightly coupled to each other in a cause and effect relationship, they trigger each other inevitably, they are committed against the Syrian State and Syrian people. Such crimes are still being committed in front of the international community in a way which no state, legal establishment or person can deny. They call for an answer according to the description of the Rome Statute.
1. Perpetrators and Instigators of Crimes
Members of the groups defined as Free Syrian Army, jihadist groups, opponents etc. are the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity; the aforementioned states are the instigators of these crimes because of their financial and arms aid also by hosting and training of the criminals.
We shall briefly refer to the identification, resources and purposes of these organizations before analyzing their crimes.
The mentioned armed organizations can be identified as gangs and terrorist groups. In the narrowest sense, these groups which define themselves as opponents to the Syrian Government chose to directly perform wild massacres and suicide attacks by discriminating race, language and religion instead of overthrowing the Government by democratic or legitimate means and putting an effort accordingly by public organization.
Armed groups first emerged in Syria at the end of March 2011 with the beginning of the events. Especially, the armed militia supported by the Salafi groups in Lebanon launched attacks against Syrian armed forces in Talk lakh of Homs and Banias of Tartus. But the biggest attack occurred in Jisr Ash-Shughur of Idlib on June 6th, 2011 which was the turning point of the Syrian War. Initially, this attack was announced as the “Slaughter of Syrian Army in the Rebelling Town”. After this, bombings and massacres continued.
It is well known that Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Al Qaeda lead these groups. However, these two groups are not in a homogenous structure and especially FSA does not have a central structuring. Many groups which declared loyalty to FSA act under the leadership of their local commanders. It is known that the reason behind many of these group’s loyalties towards Salim Idris which is a former Syrian Army member and who was chosen as a leader at the High Military Council organized at Antalya in 2012 is to benefit from the weapon traffic organized by CIA and funded by Saudi Arabia. It can be found on the news that they occasionally have clashes amongst each other as a result of their rivalry.
In addition, it is not possible to completely distinguish FSA and Al Qaeda from each other. Many of the groups attached to FSA act jointly with Al Qaeda. It is known that Turkish citizens, members of Al Qaeda are fighting in Syria with FSA. Baki Yigit and Metin Ekinci who were tried for Al Qaeda’s HSBC bombing in 2003 as suspects were released by Court of Appeal’s decision of reversal are killed in the clashes at Aleppo.
Osman Karahan, who was taken into custody because of aid and abet to Al Qaeda and then released due to lack of evidence in 2006 also was the lawyer of Al Qaeda cases and the founder of IHADER (Association for the Protection of Human Law) killed at Aleppo in July 2012 when he was fighting together with FSA and his family confirmed that his body was buried in Syria3.
Groups fighting in Syria can be classified in six groups. First: “Syrian Islamic Front”. This group is strong at the Al Hasakah – Aleppo line in the north of Syria. The “Front” is radically Islamist and its core is mainly formed by Ahrar al-Sham Brigade. The Brigade has strong connections with Turkey and conducts aid campaigns in the north with the Humanitarian Aid Foundation. “Ahrar al-Sham Brigade” is attached to the FSA and acts together with the “Islamic State” in Iraq and “Sham (ISIS)” especially on the attacks carried out against Kurdish regions. This organization under the leadership of Abu Abdullah al Hamawi is estimated to have 13-20 thousand fighters.
“Islamic Liberation Front” is also attached to FSA. The Front consists of “Tawhid Brigade” (Aleppo), “El Farouk Brigade” (Homs-Aleppo), “Islam Brigade” (Damascus), “Al Haq Brigade” (Homs) and Suqour al-Sham Brigade (Idlib). Tawhid and Al Farouk Brigades are attached to FSA. Islam and Al Haq Brigades are close to Saudi Arabia and Al Farouk Brigade is close to Turkey. Suqour al-Sham is financed by Qatar. Radical Islamist “Suqour al-Sham” is estimated to have 3 thousand fighters. Islam Brigade’s fighter number is estimated to have nearly 10 thousand. “Islam Brigade” is assembled under the same roof with the “Al Nusra Front” which is linked to “Al Qaeda” in Damascus. Suqour al-Sham joined the attacks which were performed in August on Allawite villages at Latakia under ISIS leadership and together with Tawhid Brigade.
Another group which is known to have lots of Turkish citizens is Ghuraba al-Sham is the group which was present when a mortar shell fell to Akcakale on October 2012. It also launches attacks on YPG4 which is close to PKK and attached to Democratic Union Party.
Idlib Martyrs’ Brigade is based in Idlib as it is understood from its title. The Organization lost its effect after its leader Basil Isa and some members were killed by a mortar attack, after that rest of the members of the organization started to act with Suqour al-Sham. Afhad Al Resul Brigade is another radical Islamist organization which is established and supported by Qatar. The Organization at first acted with ISIS but then banished from Ar-Rakkah as it had problems with ISIS.
Non Syrian, Lebanese and Iraq based organizations also fight in Syria besides the organizations stated above. Fatah Al Islam is one of these. Lebanese based and Al Qaeda linked group has its headquarters in the refugee camp located at Lebanon/Tripoli. Abdullah Azzam Brigade is one of the foreign based organizations. This Salafi-Takfiri organization acts with Al Qaeda. Another Lebanon based organization Jund Al-Sham formed of Palestinian jihadists. Al Qaeda linked organization leaded the attacks against Christians in Wadi Al-Nasara / Homs. Free Iraqi Army is an Iraq based organization which is established recently by people close to the former Iraq President Tariq Al Hashimi.
Many of the groups act with Al Qaeda. Beside these, we shall speak of Al Nusra Front and Islamic State in Iraq and Damascus which are other big organizations fighting in Syria and declared loyalty to Al Qaeda.
“Al Nusra Front” is a radical Islamist organization established in September 2011 in order to overthrow Assad. It declared loyalty to Al Qaeda in April 20135. “Al Nusra” was declared as a terrorist group by UN, USA, Australia and England. It is responsible for many bomb attacks in Syria. It is stated that “Al Nusra” performed nearly 70 bomb attacks in Syria by June 20136. Some of these are: ‘Damascus Attack’ October 23rd, 2011 which is known as its first attack7, Deir Ez- Zor bombings, kidnapping and murder of journalists8, Aleppo attacks etc.
“Islamic State in Iraq and Sham” is a structure established in 2003. But it changed its name to” ISIC” in April 2013. It is strong in Homs, Ar-Raqqah and Azez cities9. It led the attacks against Kurds in Latakia. “ISIS” took over the control of the region. The clashes took place in Azez in September 2013 and Turkey declared that it would close its Oncupinar Border Gate on September 20th 201310. After the ceasefire, the Northern Storm Group and Tawhid Brigade which are attached to FSA were given the joint control of the Border Gate.
It is known that the members of these terrorist organizations travel in and out of Turkey from the city of Azez which is located in the Turkish-Syrian border. This was experienced on October 18th 2013. Bab Al-Salameh Border Gate was closed to the gangs in Syria after the statement declared on Turkish Armed Forces internet site that ISIS holds had been hit. On October 18th 2013 ISIS member Abu Marwan and other 6 ISIS members were killed in a clash with Turkish military personnel at Bab Al-Salameh Border Gate. More importantly, Abu Marwan was only one of the Caucasians who had lived in Istanbul as a “guest” before the beginning of the Syrian War11.
Opponent groups which act freely at the Turkish border are also active similarly at the Jordanian border. According to a report published by ‘Le Figaro’, Zaatari Camp, the biggest refugee camp in Jordan, is being used as a headquarter by one of the armed opponent groups named Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade. This group had also taken 20 peace keepers as hostages in a place near Golan and caused international unrest. Shortly before this incident, execution videos , showing Syrian soldiers which were kidnapped by people who presented themselves as the members of this group were uploaded to YouTube12.
1.2.1 In General
States addressed in the Report as the instigators of war crimes are the imperialist states and their collaborators usually actively involved at theaters of war on all continents.
Our government will be studied under another chapter in this section as the closest supporter of the Syrian war , having opened its borders and having provided land to the use of armed groups and having given support to these groups in every way. AKP’s voice as a warmonger drowns out all other states voices and this is still ongoing.
“Friends of Syria” Group was established by the first meeting held in Tunisia on February 24th 2012 with the participation of Turkey, USA, France, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and England, the purpose of this establishment is declared as the coordination of the international efforts to overcome the crisis in Syria. The group stated it as necessary to recognize the Syrian National Council as “a legitimate representative of the Syrian people” and performed studies and meetings for this intent. Finally, at the fourth meeting held in Marrakech December 12th 2012, it declared that SNC is recognized as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people by 114 states and 13 international institutions13. Moreover, the second meeting was held in Turkey on April 1st, 2012 called as the “core meeting” by Davutoğlu. From the decisions and statements made after the meeting, it can be seen that this group is nothing other than a war front established in order to dismember Syria in the name of the “Friends of Syria”.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar as important parties to this structure never denied having delivered the biggest portion of heavy and advanced arms to Syrian opponents. According to ‘Washington Post’, US authorities declared they control the armament process financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar14. Likewise at the meeting June 22nd 2013 in Doha/Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani as the Prime Minister of Qatar stated “arms aid is the only way to reach peace”. The joint statement was made after the meeting says “It is decided that any state shall appropriately and without delay provide all materials and equipment which the opponents on the field needs to respond to the cruel attacks from Assad regime and their supporters”15.
By this statement, it has been specified that any state could intervene at their disposal to the political unrest which takes place within Syrian State borders.
Finally, there is news that this alliance intended to be secured by some secret agreements. Professor Dr. Mehmet Yuva in one of his articles declared that a secret agreement was signed in the “restructuring” meeting gathered by SNC, USA, Turkey, UAE and Qatar.The last article of the agreement leaked to the press handed over by a Kuwaiti MP Al-Hamd who had obtained it from some concerned Syrian opponents. It says “the new regime in Syria will be established pursuant to the principles of Liberal Islam”. It is obvious that the principles of a post-Assad regime has been planned in this meeting16.
1.2.2 USA – Saudi Arabia- Qatar – Israel – United States of America
“Contraction-losening dynamic (?) prevailed between the relations of Syria and USA from the dissolution of USSR until the 2011 intervention that aimed at the definite elimination of the Baath Regime. Syria’s protest against the occupation of Iraq on 2003 instigated the US to openly declare its preparations for regime-change in Syria.
American Enterprise strategist Michael Leeden, as one of the leading ideologist of the neo-cons said to the Daily Telegraph on June 16th 2003 ‘Like it or not, we are in a territorial war and we cannot retreat. (…) We have to overthrow these regimes and constitute free states in all of the countries (…) Undermining other countries, states? It’s not a big deal…’”
And the Syrian agenda worked just like that. The USA consequently performed as head-actor in all respects, by its dialogue with the representatives of the armed groups and by coordinating them, by financial and logistic support and turning Syria into a target board. It led all countries which became a partner of USA’s imperialist benefits for this purpose and also declared that air-assault to Syria could begin. USA as the main planner of the war imperiled world peace and took its place as a periodic committer of war crimes in Syria.
Saudi Arabia sees the overthrowing of the Syrian regime as an opportunity for weakening the influence zone of Iran. Syria became more important for Saudi Arabia after the convergence of post Saddam Iraq and Lebanon after the Hariri assassination with Iran. Besides these, by supporting regime-change in Syria, Saudi Arabia wishes to set aside the critics of its status-quoist approach towards Arab revolts and thereby increase its regional power by supporting a Saudi and Sunni rule in Syria17.
In brief, Saudi Arabia’s Iran phobia and its politics towards Iran lies beneath its attitude towards Syria . It is obvious that Saudi Arabia is not “comfortable” because of the last developments in the US agenda with Iran.18
According to ‘Wall Street Journal’ Prince Banda r- on his meeting with European diplomats – declared that they will go with Jordan and France and not with United States as to arming and training of Syrian opponents in protest with Obama’s regional politics19.
Saudi Arabia, having invested billions of dollars to the Syrian war theater is in a position to freely command their mercenaries in this country . It will not put up with a “Syria under Assad”. Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey demanding direct intervention, pass through a difficult period. There attitude is defiant, they want their investment back.
Another Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member is Qatar, involved in this matter, by supporting the Syrian opponents, aims to strengthen its political position in the region and widen its regional influence zone20. Qatar, contrary to Saudi Arabia changed its politics according to the new US/Russian road map on Syria and Iran. In accordance with it Qatar Ameer was overthrown in July and his son replaced him. The new administration gave up its aggressive attitude and sent a message to Bashar Assad through the Palestine Autonomous Government saying that Qatar’s Syria politics will be changed.
Recent information received during the preparation of this report shows that Israel’s intervention against Syria is not limited to support of the armed groups. On October 31st 2013, after the announcement of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that a military establishment has been hit, the news was confirmed by USA and Israel sources. Again the level of Israel’s intervention on Syrian war revealed with the news and footage broadcasted on Al Mayeden TV Channel of Lebanon. Syrian forces entered the Al Qusayr city center captured an Israeli vehicle which had been handed to the opponents by Israel. On May 6th 2013, a senior official said that Israel had used “depleted uranium” on the bombing of Jamraya Research Centre located on Damascus foothills. According to news March 28th 2013 posted by AFP, 11 FSA militants injured duringg the clashes with Syrian forces received treatment at a hospital in Israel and 8 of them were sent to war to Syria after the treatment. There are lots of cases like these concerning Israel. Israel officials also declared that they support the opponents in Israel and that they will lead an international intervention against Syria.
184.108.40.206. Turkey-Syria Relations before the war
AKP completed its 11th year in power. Relations between Turkey and Syria evolved from a peaceful to a war environment during the AKP period. Developments explained in the early sections of the Report show that AKP’s war projects were ready before the support of the groups which committed the crime of aggression against Syria. “Policy of Zero Problems with Neighbors” was presented locally and internationally by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu as a Neo-Ottoman project. Shortly after its announcement, our country began to have difficulties with all of its neighbors parallel with the developments in the Middle East.
President Bashar Assad had been welcomed by Prime Minister Erdoğan with the words “My Brother Assad” during Assad’s visit before the outbreak of the war but then was declared as enemy by the same person after the beginning of the harmful events.
220.127.116.11. Syria plan of AKP
The establishment of the “Syrian National Council” composed of numerous opponent groups was announced in Istanbul on August 23rd 2011. Its first meeting was held in Ankara on October 17th 2011 between Davutoğlu and the representatives of SNC.
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement on its internet site after the Houla Massacre on May 25th 2012 and defined the operation as “villainous”, by delivering a note it announced that all diplomatic relations with Syria was suspended and Syrian diplomats would be deported.
Erdoğan, in his interview to Washington Post on September 2012 answered to the question “Do Syrian opponents need more weapon” he replied that Syrian opponents received every support from the region and from Syrians living abroad also Turkey provided logistic support and this included the 83.000 refugees living in camps at Turkey.
Prime Minister Erdoğan stated that developments in Syria are as important as Turkey’s internal affairs and he clearly declared war by these words: “If the ones, who came from tens of thousands of kilometers away, can invade Iraq and become legitimate then we cannot stand idle with hand tied while having a 910 km border with Syria. We have to do what is necessary and we will do it.” 21
At the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Doha/Qatar on June 2013, Davutoğlu declared Turkish Administration’s support for war by these words; “Our support to Syria’s opponents is clear. This support will continue and will be growing. In todays’ meeting, we discussed the works necessary for Syria’s opponents to expand by preserving their integrity as soon as possible”22. AKP tries to gain public’s trust on its foreign politics basically by Davutoğlu’s “Strategic Depth” thesis and the ideal that aims “zero problems” with neighbors. Whereas Davutoğlu’s statements reveals that this is in fact means an “aggressive” politics.
18.104.22.168. Connections between armed groups and Turkey
As stated above, the Turkish government never denied that it supported the armed groups in Syria. Even after the inhuman massacres planned and claimed by Syria’s opponents, relations between Turkey and these gangs never deteriorated, quite the contrary relations strengthened as long as they fulfilled the demands of Turkish government.
Our purpose for studying the relations between AKP administration and the armed groups is to prove their role as perpetrator and instigator on every crime.It is possible to present thousands of examples regarding the bond between Turkey and its accomplices on the war which has been continuing for nearly 3 years. Below, you can find some summary examples:
Syrian opponents gathered in Istanbul on September 15th 2011, declared the establishment of a ‘Syrian National Council’ and stated that the primary purpose of the council was to overthrow Bashar Assad administration.
Former CIA personnel Sibel Edmonds claimed that FSA militants stayed in a camp at Hatay, trained in Incirlik Base at Adana and directed from this place. Riad Al Assad, a former colonel of Syrian Army , protected by Turkey and based in Hatay near the Syrian border demanded from the external powers to organize air assaults on “strategic targets”.
On June 22nd 2012, the day before Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet RF-4 ETM (Phantom) off Latakia, Spokesmen of USA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs verified officially that CIA organized the weapon and ammunition traffic to Syria via Turkey. The same day it had been recognized that the “salary fund for the opponent soldiers” established by Saudi Arabia had its center in Istanbul.
On June 15th 2011, Syrian News Agency made public that sim cards of Turkish GSM Companies were found on the opponents at Jisr Ash-Shughur.American NBC TV Channel claimed that antiaircraft missiles were delivered to the opponents via Turkey.
Turkey’s support for armed groups and their delivering of the equipment for use of chemicals via Turkey is not a secret in international relations. In the letter which Russia had approved of and presented it to Obama was signed by 12 retired agents including former CIA Operations Chief Philip Giraldi and former NSA executive Thomas Drake
“We have been informed that on August 13th-14th 2013, the opponent forces sanctioned by the West commenced large scaled preparations in Turkey for an unconventional and major military operation. Talks between executive military commanders of the opponents and the intelligence specialists’ of Qatar, Turkey and USA were assembled in a military base located at Antakya which previously belonged to Turkish Army but now being used by FSA and its supporters as a command center.”
Last not least, UNGA Resolutions also refer to Turkey. Resolutions numbered 18 and 19 mentioned neighboring countries responsibilities on the delivery of materials which used for the manufacture of chemical weapons or weapons.
Tunceli MP Huseyin Aygun presented a parliamentary question to the Prime Minister on July 17th 2012. Parliamentary questions implied of 11 questions regarding the training of the Syrian opponents. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu would answer the question 5 months. He stated in his answer that no one should rely on the unconfirmed news of international media. The minister had not even clearly rejected the claims23.
22.214.171.124. Weapons transfer
Tolga Tanış’s news on daily Hürriyet on December 15th 2013 revealed that weapons transfer from Turkey was also reflected in official documents.
Tanış, who reported that UN began uploading the data from custom bureaus of countries on its statistical database, reached information on weapons transfer while he was searching for commodity trade between Turkey and Syria. Thus, 47 tons of arms and ammunition have been sent beginning in June 2013 to Syria from Turkey that was officially embargoed. This data that is even reflected on statistics of Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK) has revealed a great scandal. TUIK bashfully had to admit the situation on its website.
126.96.36.199 Turkish-Syrian border as transit point
Syria is Turkey’s neighboring country which it shares the longest borders. Turkey never had border problems with Syria until the war despite of the known common crises in the world between countries sharing long borders. The Turkish-Syrian border has been used for weapon smuggling under the cover of humanitarian aid by AKP justified through the moral slogan “we can’t stand idle” throughout the war period. For participation in the war they offer as justification ‘being neighbors and sharing long borders with Syria’. Nearly for 3 years the Turkish-Syrian border has become as a gateway for war criminals and Turkish cities have become a harbor for gangs.
After the car bomb attack on September 17th 2013 at Cilvegozu Border Gate which resulted in 12 deaths and 25 injuries, it came to light that Turkish border security has completely disappeared. Turkey completely abandoned the border gates and other sections of the border line also reduced the surveillances deliberately. Armed militants have been freely travelling in and out through Turkish border without control or hindrance.
Hundreds of foreign plate (Bulgarian and Syrian) cars can be seen in traffic every day in Reyhanli. Many of these cars are regarded to be stolen. Luxurious cars brought from Bulgaria to Reyhanli in order to be smuggled across the border. This illegal trafficking is been carried out with the knowledge of the authorities. It is not possible for the ‘Syrians’ in our country to organize this illegal trafficking without the support of our government or a mafia structure. It is highly probable that mafia and security forces are acting jointly on this smuggling organization. There is information stating that off-road vehicles are smuggled from Hatay and sold in Syria and even used in clashes after being mounted heavy weapons called “docka”. Some of the stolen vehicles can still be spotted in Syria by GPS. Non-existence of the border security also endangers lives and property of Hatay citizens24.
A report said to be sent by Sanliurfa Police Department to Ankara discusses border security. The Report says that, border crossing became uncontrollable because of intensity and over load; it is not possible to routinely perform ID check and register, photo shoot, body and belongings search on border crossings.
Turkey-Syria border line is uncontrollable but more importantly it is controlled by Turkish Government acorrding to the needs of the Jihadist groups. One of the examples of this is 22 year old Burak Yazıcı’s death who was sent to Syria by jihadist groups. His father’s following statement shows that the way to death passes from Turkey, “Police took my son into custody in Rize. They fined him 1000 Turkish Liras for illegal entry to Syria. My son stayed one month but then disappeared. Before his leave, he sayed that ‘I have to cut off the heads of Assad’s men and become a murderer (mortar in the original=Granatwerfer). I cannot answer to god if I fail’. How did he cross the border? I am calling out to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Interior Minister; how do these kids get into Syria? How can my son travel without a passport? Does not this country have a border?”
All of the various interviews with armed groups fighting in Syria show that the logistic support comes from across the Turkish border.
A Statement by the President of EHDAV (Ehl-i Beyt Culture and Solidarity Foundation) to journalist Isik Kansu is quite striking; he states “Al Qaeda and Taliban members are walking in the streets. The spiritual leader of Syrian Ikhwan Adnan Al Aroor goes on TV and by shaking a warning finger to the camera and vows ‘We will grind and eat the flesh of these infidel Nusayris and Allawites.’ But these people filled with hatred are lodged in Antakya by the high state officials.”
Human Rights Watch warned Turkey in their report dated October 11th 2013 “You Can Still See Their Blood: Executions, Indiscriminate Shootings and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside” and stated “Foreign fighters in these groups enter Syria from Turkey, from
which they also smuggle their weapons and obtain money and other supplies, and to which they retreat for medical treatment”25
“Turkey should increase border patrols and prevent the entry of fighters and arms for groups credibly implicated in systematic human rights violations. Turkey should also investigate and prosecute, under the principle of universal jurisdiction and in accordance with national laws, anyone in Turkey suspected of committing, being complicit in, or having command responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity”
In addition HRW said, “The UN Security Council and Turkey’s allies should call on Turkey in particular to do more to verify that no arms are passing through Turkey to abusive groups” and added “Countries, such as Turkey should investigate people credibly linked to atrocities in Syria and avoid being a safe haven for human rights abusers.” 26
Finally on November 7th a truck with rocket launcher, rocket, bomb and weapon is captured in Adana. It has been found out that the warheads were manufactured in a workshop at Konya. Authorities did not deny this information. Journalist Omer Odemis brought to light an important fact on this case. Odemis stated the claims that Heysem Topalca who was caught with the missiles personally participated to murders in Syria, kidnapped a young man named Samir Duver, brought him to Turkey and killed him even though he levied the ransom and buried his body somewhere near Yayladag border. Besides this, Odemis added that there are also claims that Heysem Topalca had connection with Reyhanli massacre; he was caught several times for smuggling and similar crimes but released every time; he was working for Turkish Intelligence (MIT) and used as a secret witness in some law suits27.
188.8.131.52. Condition of the refugee camps in Turkey
According to the information given by AFAD Press Consultant Mustafa Aydogdu, the number of people entered to Turkey from Syria is nearly six hundred thousand. In the same statement it is said that four hundred thousand of these people live outside of refugee camps.
Camps concerning Syria issue have been built mainly in Hatay, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Osmaniye and Adiyaman during the last three years.
These camps which were shown as a source of pride when hot war threat was in the air, are now commented with “we can’t afford them” by Turkish officials.
Ahmet Davutoğlu answered to a parliamentary question; “More than 1.5 billion US Dollars spent to supply the basic needs of Syrians which are lodged in our country including the construction and maintaining of 20 sheltering bases”.
Court of Account’s report revealed a scandal regarding to this spending. The Report dated 2012 refers to these facts according to the spending by AFAD “Humanitarian aid operations and spending were performed without any base or procedure”28.
Prime Minister, in his most recent declaration announced that the total expense amount to 2 billion dollars. These expenses are justified as the expenditures for the refugee camps in Turkey. It is also remarkable that “discretionary fund expenditures” (?) of Prime Minister Erdoğan have reached a record high in the last 3 years. Starting amount for the allocated discretionary fund in 2011 was 500.000TL. but Erdoğan spent 391.000.000TL in total. This amount reached up to 694.000.000TL in 2012 which was the highest amount of last 10 years. 156.000.000TL spent from the discretionary fund in June and July of 2012 only. These data correspond to the period where the war in Syria became as massive as it has never been. It is also understood that the expenditures are increasing and will increase by looking at the discretionary fund expenditures which reached up to 873.600.000TL in the first 8 months of 2013.
The legal status of the refugee camps in Turkey is also very controversial. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu responded to a parliamentary question and said “Civilian and military refugees have separate legal status regarding refugee law. Consent is necessary for the refugees who will make entry to the camps having soldiers. It must be appreciated that order is necessary to avoid problems. It is normal for refugees who are also security elements to be specially treated.” With this respond, Davutoğlu states that Turkey acts in conformity with the international law in refugee camps.
However, the disadvantages of having armed elements in the refugee camps were stated in the final declaration of the “Global Consultation” meeting held by Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2001; same document also states “People participated to an armed conflict assumed to have a military agenda when they cross a border without laying down their arms. Allowing this kind of an agenda contradicts with member countries responsibilities of protecting international peace and security, international law concerning friendly relations which is defined in UN Charter and in the United Nations general Assembly Resolutions”.
In other words, UN Charter and resolutions consider the disarmament of the people in the camps as a responsibility for that country. But as it is understood from Davutoğlu’s speech, the military condition is preserved and even the supervision in these military camps is not allowed. Likewise, as it is seen in the report, many of the FSA militants admit they cross the border and are engaged in combat and return back to Turkey.
Keeping militants and war criminals in these camps and making these people benefit from the expenditures made for the camps results in direct financial aid, at least help preserving their reason for existing.
In addition, Guney Cuma Can the President of Humanitarian Aid and Solidarity Platform in his letter to UNHCR requested the shutting down of these refugee camp, appearing to be ‘terror camps’ and by drawing attention to their location he says “Establishment of the refugees camps a few km close to the border is both against the Refugee Law and also poses a risk for the unarmed refugees”.
It has been confirmed by their own words that armed militants stay in these camps and go to Syria for combat from time to time. For example, on November 30th 2012 Syrian National Council’s President Burhan Ghalioun who resides in France and FSA’s president Colonel Riad Al Assad who stays in Hatay gathered in the refugee camp at Hatay. This information assured that the central base of Syrian opposition is Hatay. Similar information can be found in the media periodically.
Refugee camps established in our country also became staging places of political shows in contrary to the international law. Prime Minister gave several speeches in these camps and also did not hesitate to share the same platform with the representative of Syrian Opposition Moaz Al Khatip on December 30th 2012. However, CHP MP’s weren’t let through to the camp.
It came to light that the settlement in the camps was planned by pursuing political discrimination. In the conclusion of the detailed report prepared by IHD September 27th 2013, it says “A politics which is composed of only the support of the Syrian opposition is being pursued under the cover of humanitarian aid. A discriminative state politics is being followed with respect to Syrian refugees. Only Sunni and Arab Syrians are kept in the camps. Other people such as Kurds, Circassians and war victims are abandoned to their fate”.
2. Characteristics of crimes and evidences
2.1. War crimes and crimes against humanity
2.1.1. War Crime
Three years ago, there was not a single group involved in a systematic war against the Syrian state, nothing happened in terms of an ‘armed conflict’ in Syria. In other words, Syria was a country with an undeniable peaceful atmosphere where communities with various languages, religions and ethnicities lived together. Now, the Syrian state tries to provide this atmosphere within the boundaries of an environment under war and seeks to maintain this atmosphere together with the Syrian people.
The first crime which took place in Syria is the crime of waging a war, of breaching the peace, which, resulted in efforts to overturn this atmosphere and made humanity pay a heavy price.
It has been discussed whether this process in Syria is a regional war, a civil war or a conflict, which does not even deserve being called a war. However, the actions of the criminals, the level and duration of use of weapons, the images of savagery and the confessions of armed rebel groups reveal that a war is going on in Syria. Yet, according to Rome Statute, the use of armed violence applies both to armed conflicts that take place in the territory of a State when there is protracted armed conflict between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups. (Rome Statute, Art. 8, 2-d, f). The conflict can be both on an international or national basis. In this context, the war in Syria should be treated within the scope of law of war. In order to apply the laws of war, the conflicts should have a long-term, armed character and should take place between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups (Rome Statute, Art.8 / 2-d, f)
Within the scope of war crimes, almost all of the following crimes have been committed by the armed groups and people who are fighting against the Syrian state and people according to the Rome Statute:
Wilful causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health
Humiliating and degrading treatment against individuals
Judging or executing a person without a legal procedure;
Attack against civilians;
Directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions
Directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission;
Launching an attack against the places which need to be protected
Pillaging a town or place
Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces
Ordering the displacement of the civilian population;
Killing or wounding treacherously
Declaring that no quarter will be given;
Subjecting persons to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments;
Destroying or seizing the property of an adversary.
2.1.2. Crimes against humanity
Crime against humanity is a mass crime which violates the fundamental rights of civilians which need to be protected. It concerns the whole humanity since it is committed systematically andmassively. Most of the crimes listed under Article 7 of Rome Statute have been committed by armed rebel forces in Syria.
The acts performed as part of this crime are as follows:
Murder: In order to consider murder as a crime against humanity, the murder should be committed against civilians with the knowledge of attack
Extermination: includes the imposition of conditions of life, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population;
Enslavement: means the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking
in persons, in particular women and children
Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
Rape: sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity
Enforced disappearance of persons
The crime of apartheid
2.1.3. Evidences regarding war crimes and crimes against humanity
184.108.40.206. Murder and massacre
The first big attack of the groups fighting in Syria is the attack on June 6th 2011, Jisr al Shughur, Idlib, which is considered as the milestone of the war. 120 military and police officers were killed in the attack. In 2011, 44 people died, 166 people were injured and the Syrian Military Intelligence Office was damaged due to the bombs which were placed in two cars in central Damascus.
On January 6th 2012, a suicide bomber attacked the buses carrying policemen on Al-Midan Avenue in Damascus. As a result, 26 people have died and 60 people were injured. Al-Nusra assumed the attack. On February 10th 2012, two strong bombs have exploded in front of the buildings of Syrian Intelligence Service in Aleppo, the attack was once again assumed by Al- Nusra, 28 people died and 235 people were injured as a result. In March 2012, two very effective bombs have been exploded in front of the Directorate of Air Intelligence and Criminal Security buildings by Al-Nusra in Damascus. At least 27 people died and more than 140 people were injured29.
On April 7th 2012, a suicide attack, targeting the Syrian army and assumed by al-Nusra, took place in Damascus and 9 people have died30. On April 30th 2012, another attack took place as a car, targeting the Syrian army has exploded in Idlib and 20 people died31.
On May 10th 2012, a huge bombing attack, targeting the Syrian intelligence took place in Damascus. 55 people died and almost 400 people have been injured.
In October 2012 again, successive bombing attacks took place in Aleppo and at least 34 people have lost their lives in the city center.
On November 13th 2012, mass graves, where civilians and members of Syrian army, who are claimed to be killed by FSA were buried have been found in Resulayn town near Ceylanpinar district of Sanliurfa, Turkey32.
On November 28th 2012, in Nahda and Qurayyat neighborhoods in the center of Jaramana, where the majority of the population are Christian and Druse two bomb vehicle attacks and two bomb set-up attacks took place, 34 people have died and 83 people have been injured33.
On December 11th 2012, during the attack in Aqrab village near the city of Hama, where Arabic Allawites make up the majority of the population, between 125 and 300 civilians have died according to different sources.
In December 2012, a bombing attack took place on the Street where the Syrian Ministry of Interior Affairs is located in Damascus, 7 people died and 50 people were injured.
On January 29th 2013, at least 80 dead bodies were found, most of them are estimated to be children under 18, executed with hands tied on the back along the Quiq River in the Bustan al Qasr region in Aleppo, controlled by FSA34.
Successive bombing attacks took place on February 21st 2013. 80 people died and at least 250 people were injured due to the explosion of a bombladen vehicle in Damascus. 59 people died and 200 people were injured due to the explosion of a bomb-laden vehicle nearby the Syrian Baath Party35, 22 people died and 50 people were injured due to the explosion of three bombs in Barzeh. The aforementioned bombing attacks, the responsibility of which are undertaken by “Al Nusra” are considered as attacks with the heaviest death toll in the history of Syrian civil war.
A bombing attack took place against the Syrian Central Bank on April 8th 2013. 15 people died and 53 people were injured as a result36.
Another attack took place against the Ministry of Interior Affairs on 29 April 29th . 6 people died while Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi survived.
While at least 14 people died in the bombing attack which took place in Damascus on June 11th , a suicide attack took place in the Christian region of Damascus on June 27th and 4 people died37.
On June 11th 2013, in Hatla, Dayr Az Zawr, Ahrar al-Sham Brigade killed 60 Shiites, most of whom are women and children.
220.127.116.11. Extermination of racial and religious groups
In August 2013, Al-Qaeda linked and Lebanon based Palestinian Jihadist organization Jund Al Sham Homs organized massacres against Muslims in Wadi al-Nasara and killed more than 15 people.
Latakia – August 2013
In summer 2013, starting with ISIS, Ahrar al-Sham Brigade and Suqour al Sham carried out raids in Allawite and Kurdish villages in Latakia. On Sunday August 4th 2013, around 04:00 am thousands of al-Nusra militants coming from different directions attacked 8 villages on the North-east of Latakia with weapons and rockets. Some of the unaware civilians woke up and have been raped or murdered with knives, choppers or machetes.
The situation in attacked villages is as follows:
The number of people who survived after the massacre in Nabata village is 12. In Baruda village, 33 people, amongst whom there are 13 children and 9 women have been cut and killed. In Hrrata village, the whole population of the village, which is almost 40 people have been killed with sharp objects, without firing any gun. In Balluta village, first the kids have been gathered in the village square and killed, then adults have been murdered. The murderers opened fire on those who tried to escape. Only 15 people managed to escape from the village. According to the witnesses in Astarba village, terrorists cut the villagers as if scarifying after putting knives on their throats, saying “Takbir” and saying the Surah al-Fatihah. After the massacre, they have burned all the houses in the village.
Hundreds of people died during the attacks, which took almost one month. During these attacks on August 26th, al Nusra stated that the Alawite Imam, who had been kidnapped, has been executed. According to the reports, two big mass graves have been found in the region after this massacre.
According to the report issued by HRW after an investigation, it has been agreed that ISIS seriously violated human rights, they brutally murdered 190 civilians and kidnapped 200 people. The report also states that the real number can be even higher38.
18.104.22.168. Use of Chemical Weapons
According to the report on Syrian State Television, chemical weapons were used in Khan Al Assal on March 19th 2013 and almost 25 people were killed.
On May 30th 2013, an operation was carried out against Al Qaeda and the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra front and 12 people were taken into custody. It was announced that 2 kilograms of sarin gas was found at the homes of the suspects. However, according to other sources in the press, some authorities declared that this was not sarin gas39, but a weapon of mass destruction which is equivalent to sarin gas, which can be produced in laboratories and which has no smell or color40.
It has been reported that on August 21st 2013, an attack took place in the Eastern Guta region in Damascus, where chemical weapons were also used. After the attack on August 21st, it was the Lebanese newspaper ‘As Safir’ who first published that the area where supposedly chemical loaded missiles were thrown, was controlled by “Zahran Allosh” at the time of the attack. Later on, Russia also announced that according to their intelligence the missiles were thrown from an area controlled by “Liwa al-Islam”.
The organization which allowed the UN committee to enter and investigate the region where the attack had been conducted, was Liwa al-Islam. The images uploaded on YouTube and recorded on August 21st were found on the cell phone of one of 3 militants who were killed by Peshmargas from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government on 15 September 15th. One of the militants on one of the videos calls the operation as the “Cold Wind Operation”. The flag of “Liwa al-Islam” can be seen on the weapons in the videos. The members of the organization are wearing gas masks on the video.
Late in October 2013a news report said that a bomb had exploded near the police station owned by Kurdish forces in the city of Ras al Ayn, on the Turkish border and that the bomb could have been a chemical weapon. The report also indicated that according to the statement of some sources, “serious poisoning symptoms such as qualm (?) and vomiting are observed in some militants” and that there was a yellow smoke where the bomb fell40.
In an interview with BBC, Carla Del Ponte, member of UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, said that there was no indication that the sarin gas was used by the Syrian government, however it could have been used by the fighting groups41. Then, few days later, USA authorities also admitted for the first time that chemical weapons could have been used by these groups42.
22.214.171.124. Attacks against educational and religious buildings
On December 4th, 2012, 28 students and one teacher have lost their lives in a howitzer attack against a school in al-Wafideen camp where Syrians in the region had immigrated after Israel had invaded Golan Hills, 20 kilometers Northeast of Damascus, during the 1967 War.
In January 2013, the French hospital in Aleppo, where members of Syrian Army were being treated was bombed by Nusrat Front. Together with the video prepared by Nusrat front, the bomb-laden vehicle, the will of the suicide bomber and the bombing images prove, who executed the bombing.
On March 28th 2013, a howitzer attack took place against Damascus University. At least 15 people died and 20 people were injured in the attack43.
On March 21st 2013, a bomb has exploded in Eman Mosque in Damascus during Friday prayer and the Assad supporter, Sunnite Imam Sheikh Mohammed Said Ramadan al-Buti was killed. Besides Al-Buti, 42 people died and at least 82 people were injured during the bombing44.
On November 9th 2013, Jihadist militants, conducting a howitzer attack near an infirmary in Ashrafia, Aleppo, killed 6 children and injured 6 civilians45.
As part of her report on Syria journalist Hediye Levent wrote that almost 2000 school buildings were completely destroyed in conflicts, refugees settled in nearly 3000 school buildings in the whole country, some schools were emptied but, particularly in Aleppo, the students of the schools which had not yet been emptied were transferred to other schools.
126.96.36.199. Sexual harassment and rape
We have learned that Al Qaeda and FSA-linked organizations raped thousands of women and children. In a statement made by the NGO “Women Under Siege” in 2012, it is documented that over 100 rape and sexual harassment took place and 80% of these attacks were against women and girls. The witnesses reveal that the number of such attacks is even higher.
188.8.131.52. Bombed and looted historical heritages
Besides the information we have gathered, it is also said on the World heritages page of UNESCO46 that Krak des Chevaliers, Palmira, Damascus old city, the middle-age buildings in the old town of Aleppo, Al-Madinah Bazaar, Great Mosque-Aleppo, archeological villages in Northern Syria, Bosra, Madiq castle, Sarmin Mosque, al-Takkiyeh Ariha Mosque, Al-Qusayr Great Mosque, Mar Elias Monastery, al-Heraq Mosque, the oldest mosque in Sarmin, Hama, Homs, etc. historical artifacts have been damaged and some of them have been pillaged.
2.2. Crime of Aggression
The crime of aggression is a type of crime which did not initially take part in the Rome Statute and was accepted only 7 years later. It should be mentioned that the perpetrator of this crime is the state. Since the armed groups who commit war crimes in Syria are not considered as a state according to the Statute, their crimes have not been recorded as crimes. However, since it can also be seen in the report, these groups have strong relations with the instigator states. While describing the crimes of aggression in the Rome Statute, “the sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein” is also mentioned. In this context, the countries which are listed in detail as instigator countries have committed the crime of aggression against Syria.
§4. Lawsuits in Turkey and their outcome
The judicial processes caused by the Syrian issue can be divided into two categories in Turkey. The first ones are the applications claiming that a direct war crime was conducted and reporting the authorities and the direct member of armed groups and demanding a punishment for them. The second category is the Reyhanlı accusation, the sarin gas case in Adana and the Utku Kali case.
The courses of events are surprisingly similar in those two judicial processes. Real criminals are being protected by judicial bodies and the jurisdiction mechanism is working like a revenge mechanism, as it is seen in some cases. In all the Syria-related cases, the judicial bodies present very important examples of covering the unlawfulness with law, which will go down in history. In this section, the most important examples of related processes are treated. However, it should be stated that the public authorities who make these unlawful decisions in Turkey have either disregarded, or misconducted their duties. This conscious decision also plays a role in the massacres in Syria and in our country.
A. Decision of non-prosecution regarding the criminal complaints
30th November 2011. A period where armed groups commit the crime of aggression in Syria, the clearest examples of crimes against humanity are being presented in terms of international law. A criminal complaint prepared by lawyers Selin Aksoy, Ozgur Urfa and Gokhan Agirbas as complainants was submitted to Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul. The defendants are determined as Riyad al Assas (the responsible of the organization called FSA), Abdulhakim Belhadj (former leader of the organization called the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) and other people who will be determined as a result of the investigation. The complaint petition is based on a report of the newspaper ‘Cumhuriyet’. In the criminal complaint, it is stated that “Abdulhakim Belhadj has come to Turkey and met the FSA leaders (the person mentioned in the report: Riyad al Assas) in Istanbul and the frontier zone, Turkey transfers volunteers to fight together with rebels from Libya to Syria, Turkey takes part in the organization and it is clear that these activities are violation of international and national law against Syrian state and create a threat of war between the Syrian state and the Republic of Turkey.” Stating that the crime described under article 306 of Turkish Penal Code; “soldier recruitment to the detriment of a foreign country” has occurred, the lawyers demanded that the required inquiries should be made regarding these people and the mentioned Turkish citizens and that a criminal case should be filed against them.
On June 24th 2012, six months after the complaint, the Chief Prosecution’s Office of Istanbul resolved to “non-prosecution of the claim”. The justification of the decision presents a striking example of how the AKP government has transformed the justice, bureaucracy and diplomacy for such times. The justification of the Prosecutor’s Office is as follows:
“It was resolved on non- prosecution for the suspects on the grounds that on the response to the letter sent to Istanbul Security Directorate no information obtained regarding the fact that the aforementioned figures on the bill of claim had no records of entrance and exit in and from Turkey, and did not carry out the act of recruiting militants against a foreign state without authorization of Turkish State; and because the letter written as a response to the letter sent to MİT (National Intelligence Organization) showed that no evaluation was seen in direction of related figures recruited militants against a foreign state, and claims were abstract.”
However, the main headquarter of the armed organization and its activities, for which MIT (National Intelligence Service of Turkey) said “I do not know” and the police department said “there are no records”. Many events took place during the period between the complaint and decision, where the national intelligence service replied the Prosecutor’s Office. For example, in the written statement dated April 2012 of FSA, issued by their Information Office in Paris, France, it was declared that the Supreme Military Council was founded during the FSA meeting held in Antakya.
More serious examples of the complaints, which are declared to be abstract claims by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul, started to take place almost every day and FSA-linked groups become a part of daily life in Hatay. It happened that, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Hatay confirmed that 3 people, who wanted to kidnapp the FSA leader Riyad al Assas from the tent city where he was accommodated in Hatay, were taken into custody and thus accepted the presence and activities of FSA in Hatay. This happened on May 21st2012, exactly three days after the day the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul said “there is no such thing”.
Even more important: The person who came forward with the kidnapping issue and whose residence in Turkey was confirmed by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Hatay, is the one who was reported to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul.
The response of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Hatay to a complaint petition dated December 25th 2012 makes the situation more clearer. Lawyer Cihan Soylemez, registered in Tunceli Bar Association, provided an accusation which portrayed FSA as suspect and which presents similar claims.
Lawyer Cihan Soylemez came forward with the same accusation not only in Hatay, but also before the Chief Prosecutors of Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Iskenderun, but all resolved on non-prosecution for the claim. However, the justifications of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Hatay exceed those of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul and other cities.
In brief, as a justification of their decision dated January 25th 2013, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Hatay declared that FSA does not hold any activities within Turkey, the mentioned people have not entered in or went out of our country, no information or document has been found, proving that they have participated in any activities in Turkey and showing whether the organization called FSA runs as the army of the coalition founded against the government forces, that no FSA members have been found in Hatay.
It is clear that the above-mentioned decisions are made consciously, in order to cover up the committed crimes by law. Unfortunately, it was soon realized that the consequences were far reaching. The fact that legal personnel protect terrorist within the country in order to help the government intervene with the interior affairs of another country within the frame of its own program reveals, that these judges and prosecutors share in responsibility for the Reyhanli Massacre. If these criminal complaints, which were presented long before the massacre was taken into consideration, if an investigation was conducted and if these people, who almost obtained the right to commit crimes within Turkey could have been judged, maybe the Reyhanli Massacre would never have taken place. The same thing could be said for MIT (the National Intelligence Service), gendarmerie and Ministry of Interior Affairs, as it was later revealed that they had learned about the attack plan through the intelligence service in advance.
1. Lawsuit of Adana – Sarin Gas and previous developments
Anadolu Agency (the official News Agency of Turkey) exactly reported the following news on the date of 21 August 2013:
“It is reported that death toll increased to 635 during the attack organized by Assad forces and allegedly chemical weapons were used in Eastern Guta near Damascus. On the photograph,
relatives of the killed identify the corpses in Kaffar Batna. (SNN / Shaam News Network, Anadolu Agency)”
August 21st became a turning point to the Syrian agenda. All the countries backing the criminals in Syria trumpeted that the Syrian authorities massacre their own people with chemical weapons, and broadcasted photos of massacre.
It was implied that such a great massacre with usage of chemicals could only be carried out by a state. The message attempted at winning public opinion for a military intervention in Syria. Battle cries were heard in higher sounds. On the other side, Syrian state official reaffirm that they had no role in the massacre in question and they have no reason for committing such crimes. This identifies this attack as a clear provocation.
AKP, thirsty for war, using up public funds in order to ruin the peace atmosphere in Syria, brought up a resolution to the Parliament’s agenda at the opening day of TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey). The resolution was discussed in closed session in Parliament. However, Denizli MP İlhan Cihaner shared the resolution text on his twitter and presented the document to the public that was shut out by AKP.
(?) Prime Minister commenting on the resolution dating of August 21st and the petition with which he presented with the resolution (?) The following remarks are meant to justify the resolution presented with signature of Prime Minister:
“The (Assad) regime violated international law and began using chemical weapons as well as heavy weapons including ballistic missiles and indiscriminate air strikes; finally 1400 Syrian citizens, majority of which were children, were killed during the attack with chemical weapons in Damascus on 21 August 2013.”
Justification of this resolution, which underlined that chemical attack is a “crime against humanity”, requested support from the Parliament by saying that Turkey was under threat. The Parliament, accepted the mentioned resolution, voted on peace on the first business day. The MPs taking the side of the memorandum preferred war option. (?) AKP started the new legislative period with the above mentioned parliamentary activity, declaring war as a government mission.(?)
The more important detail is that the chemical attack was accepted as crime against humanity and this was used to justify the resolution. AKP said in its resolution that the abominable crime was committed by the Syrian state. But informationthata had leaked through before the resolution was passed, pointed out that Turkey also played a part in the massacre in question.
In the aftermath of the attack on August 21st, Lebanese daily ‘As-Safir’ was the first to report that the region affected by allegedly containing chemicals was under control of the “Zahran Alloush’s group” during the attack. Then Russian Intelligence forwarded that missiles were launched from the region that was under control of the organization of “Liwa Al-Islam”. It was “Liwa Al-Islam organization” that allowed the UN group to enter the region under attack and to carry out the investigation requested.
However, the greater evidence was released through some images on YouTube. These images recorded on August 21st , were found on September 15th on the mobile phone of one of the 3 militants killed by Peshmergas of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government. One of the militants on the videos called the operation “Cold Wind Operation”. Banner of “Liwa Al-Islam” is seen on the weapons while the members of the organization are wearing gas masks.
New evidence was found and new reports are prepared day by day on the above mentioned use of chemical weapons. All developments fingerprint at armed groups and suggest that they used sarin gas and they were not alone in this respect.
The head of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission on the Syrian Arab Republic, Carla Del Ponte accused Syrian opponents of using chemicals.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov made the following remarks on the usage of chemical attack: “Opponents upload the images on internet that they prepare. We have evidence showing that this is a scenario that was previously planned.”
Finally, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously approved the resolution demanding the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. The resolution underlined that use of chemical weapons in Syria was a serious violation of international law, and not only the Syrian state but also unofficial forces in this country and neighboring countries were addressed with the resolution. The text of the UNSC resolution refers in three articles to the shipment of chemical weapons or chemicals to be used for weapons from neighboring countries to Syria. (??)
During the police operation against members of Al Qaeda-linked “Al Nusra Front” in Adana in May 2013, chemical materials that could have been be used for sarin gas production was confiscated.
The bill of indictment prepared by Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Adana mentions that Heysam Kassab, born in Homs in Syria, set up a wide network in Turkey in order to provide the necessary material for the production of chemical weapons. Furthermore, Heysam Kassab confessed to the prosecutor’s office that he was not a member of Al Qaeda but ‘Liwa Al Islam’. The organization of ‘Liwa Al Islam’ is assumed and fingerpointed by several sources to be the organization behind the chemical attack on Guta near Damascus on August 21st. The leader of this organization is Zahran Alloush of Saudi-origin . Alloush is famous for his close relations with Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency.
Kassab, whose organizational links were clearly stated on the bill of indictment prepared by Prosecutor’s Office of Adana, was discharged during the first hearing without paying almost any attention to the indictment. Kassab, however, confessed during this hearing that chemical materials – a subject matter of the lawsuit – were requested by the FSA, but he had no information where and why these chemicals would be used, and he stated that he had links with other defendants in order to provide the chemicals. Thus this person, who almost confessed that he had committed a crime against humanity, was released with a ban on leaving the country, and no defendant was held under arrest in this lawsuit.
2. Lawsuit of Reyhanlı
First of all, our people paid the price of inevitable results of AKP’s war policies with the massacre of Reyhanlı.
Nobody believed in official death toll of only 53 persons during the explosions in Reyhanlı on 11 May 2013. In the aftermath of massacre of Reyhanlı AKP first imposed a broadcast ban in a panic and then pressured health workers to play down the real death toll.
Official authorities attempted to deceive the public by implying that the massacre was carried out by Syria. Although the war led to bloodshed and deaths in Syria and in our country, too the AKP has never stopped paving the way for an even greater war by exploiting this massacre.
While they were instantly pointing to the Syrian State as being involved in Reyhanlı without showing any evidence, a document revealed on 22 May 2013 was of historic value. According to the Turkish Gendarmerie, correspondence that had been tapped by Turkish ‘hacker group Redhack’, revealed that no preventive measures had been taken, although it had been known as from April 25th that Al Qaeda members would organize a bomb car attack.
Although a claim, which came after a couple of months and was not definitely confirmed, it seems that this is in accordance with the developments on the ground. It was claimed that the most important armed organization in Syria, “Islamic State of Iraq and Sham”, affiliated with Al Qaeda and backed by Turkey, took the responsibility for massacre of Reyhanlı. This organization also took the responsibility for the explosion in Bab Al-Hawa.
The Prime Minister’s inspector reports concluded that no state official or authority had a fault or could be blamed for negligence in events. Government authorities were eager to cover up their responsibilities in the Reyhanlı developments.The police chief of Reyhanl was however discharged.
The Lawsuit dealing with the massacre of Reyhanlı cannot be looked at without taking into consideration the above summarized procedures. We learnt that the bill of indictment of the Reyhanlı Lawsuit was accepted while this report was prepared. It revealed that Prosecution Office accused Mihraç Ural, leader of People’s Liberation Army/Front of Turkey (Urgent) (THKPC Acilciler), as being responsible for the Reyhanlı massacre.
The fact that Mihraç Ural was accused for having committed the crime right after the massacre, when no evidence had been yet collected, provides ample evidence, that the legal forces also adopted the scenario presented by AKP, prepared after the massacre. Having been pinpointed as the target, Mihraç Ural said during an interview with journalist İsmail Saymaz: “THKPC Acilciler organization has not existed for twenty years, this accusation is enough to make a cat laugh.”
As we are approaching the hearing on February 13th in 2014 tthe bill of indictment is based on abstract claims. It is not clear on which evidence the plot will be based. (?)
The bill of indictment the of the Reyhanlı Lawsuit unfortunately shows what the end of lawsuit might be, as it happened before. Pinpointing a nonexistent organization as the main responsible in this lawsuit means that real responsible people for the massacre are being protected.
Some Turkish MPs clearly pinpointed to the AKP government as being responsible for massacre of Reyhanlı. For instance, Mevlut Dudu, Refik Eryılmaz, Hasan Akgöl from the Hatay province and Mehmet Ali Ediboğlu from Mersin Aytuğ Atıcı from Adana and Faruk Loğoğlu and Levent Gök from Ankara, and Birgül Ayman Güler from İzmir said about the massacre: “You absolved the oppositional groups and panicked in creating criminals for the incident just after the explosion when evidence had not yet been collected. You pointed and lynched some figures in the media regarding an inquiry under confidential order and you intervened in the process of inquiry and judgment. You violated the main principle of the penal code ‘Suspects are innocent until proved guilty’. You violated the confidentiality order of the court. You preferred absolving criminals by substituting yourself with the legal proceedings. You could not prevent the attack despite of the report of Gendarmerie Intelligence. You took censorship resolution, and withdrew MOBESE records.”
3. Lawsuit of Private Utku Kalı
As above-stated, intelligence reports show that an attack was planned in Reyhanlı, the information was decoded.
Officials focused on finding whoever leaked the documents instead of inspecting the criminals of the explosion and bringing them to the court, and as a result of the ‘inquiry (!)’ Private Utku Kalı was unlawfully and arbitrarily taken into custody and arrested.
Accusations against Utku Kalı are serious. A bill of indictment for Utku Kalı was prepared and accepted to judge him for the crimes of ‘obtaining information regarding state security’ and ‘leaking the documents regarding state security and its political interests’.
Although the Military Prosecuter had no authority and no obligation for this inquiry in terms within the prepared bill of indictment. The inquiry was unlawfully carried out and in the same questionable way the bill of indictment was prepared. As the bill of indictment, which was prepared as a result of an inquiry conducted by the unauthorized prosecution office and accepted by the court is null and void in terms of law, it revealed however that there was no legal basis on which a judgment could be carried out.
During the hearing of Utku Kalı held on November 11th 2013, it became obvious that statements of witnesses were inconsistent while the evidence provided was incompatible with a legal procedure. Utku Kalı, who was discharged during this hearing, should be exculpated and acquitted.
4. Lawsuit of journalists
Hasan Kabakulak, Hatay Correspondent of ‘Daily Yurt’ and ‘Daily Asi of Hatay’, was arrested in the court on April 11th 2013 for “Transferring information to Syria”.
Ömer Ödemiş, Correspondent of ‘Daily Yurt’, made the following statement upon this arrest: “This arrest is related to the increased pressure in Hatay, it aims at threatening critical journalists who are struggling for publicizing the hidden realities in Turkey.”
Ödemiş stated that the paper was informed about the incident recently, He said that the arresting process was rapidly carried out on the backstage. Saying that justifying “holding information” is very dangerous and open-ended. Ödemiş pointed out that if requested the accusation against him could be called the crime of “treason”. Such an accusation would result in putting more pressure on journalists. Ödemiş added that no evidence was provided as justification for his arrest. The accusation was based upon denunciation, he said.
Journalist Hasan Karakulak is hold in prison since October 2013 , being ‘punished’ by AKP as dozens of other imprisoned journalists who only did their job: informing the public.
All the oppositional armed groups in Syria mentioned in this report are under suspicion of having committed the crime of leading a war and other crimes against humanity.
Presidents and responsible authorities of all the countries mentioned in the report who are backing the members of armed groups in Syria, notably Barack Hussein Obama, Benyamin Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are to be called ‘instigators and participants’ in the above stated crimes against humanity.
Above mentioned personalities and official authorities are involved in the crime of aggression.
All legal personnel, who declare verdict of non-prosecution for those who commit crimes against humanity despite of substantial claims, neglect and abuse their duties, and thus should be judged and punished because furthering or enabling crimes.
All persons, who operate in Turkey with the aim of looking out for new parties for similar crimes to committed against humanity and who continue to recruit Jihadists for Syria, are to be held held responsible for crime according to Article 306 of Turkish Penal Code: “Anyone who without authorization recruits soldiers or engages in other hostile activities against a foreign state in a manner which exposes the Turkish State to the risk of war shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from five to twelve years.” The fact that these criminals are not punished but instead released seriously violates the Turkish penal law code and enables further crimes. Every criminal acting against the above mentioned article of the Turkish penal code must be immediately arrested.
The Syrian armed gangs who committed crimes in the above mentioned are to be held responsible according the Rome Statute. However, bringing these criminals to an international criminal court seems almost impossible due to partiality.
Providing judgment for those who have committed crimes in Syria as a sovereign state on a national scale seems more of an option than the establishment of an International Court. The criminals who are already in Syria and who continue to commit war crimes must be arrested. Their harmful activities must be put to an end, their doings must be prosecuted.
In order to achieve this humanistic goal, imperialist states must stop backing these gangs.
Achieving an atmosphere of peace in Syria will provide the circumstances for law suits against Syrian citizens who have participated in war crimes.
A fair judgment of criminals in Syria as a sovereign and independent country could be achieved in creating conditions for peace.
It seems that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shares prime responsibility. As the head of the executive power, he keeps making hostile statements about a neighboring country and he backs the persons committing war crimes, provides public funding for them, he even praises acts of crime and he provides residence for war criminals within the Turkish borders. The result of all these questionable unlawful attitudes pushes our country into war like conditions with a neighbor country. The Turkish Prime Minister is therefore to be held responsible for supporting crimes committed against humanity according to national and international law, and also for malpractices. According to Article 146 and related articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is suspected to commit crimes on duty, should be called before the Supreme Court.
Almost everything said with respect to the Prime Minister is also valid for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu is also a first degree responsible for attempting to deceive the world public opinion during official and unofficial meetings in which he participated on behalf of the Turkish State. This must also be said for his attitudes within the homeland. We accuse Ahmet Davutoğlu of having abusing his office. According to Article 146 and related articles of Constitution of Republic of Turkey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who commits crimes on duty, must be called before the Supreme Court.
The Minister of the Interior, Muammer Güler, is also accused for participating in crimes and for abuse of office in first degree.
According to Article 146 and related articles in the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, a Minister of Foreign Affairs, who commits crime on duty, must be judged by the Supreme Court.
MİT (National Intelligence Organization) authorities also abused their office by providing deliberately false information to the legal body and the administration through documents they have signed. Because of such violation of law, these officials must also be sentenced to re establish justice.
The same holds for the director of the security department. Particularly the police chiefs of Istanbul, Hatay, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Kilis and Mardin should be discharged from their office and brought to court.
Putting into effect the above mentioned demands seems highly difficult for the moment because judicial independence was abolished to a great extent and the political majority of the Parliament is on the side of the political party of the accused personnel However, it should be noted that the claims put forward and being proved day by day, create explicit unrest among these accused because the claims cannot be hidden from the society anymore. It is known that the Prime Minister and others have enough political experience to know that if these types of crime are being addressed this would mean being held accountable. One of the reasons for them holding on to their power is their knowledge that these serious crimes will never stop following them.
We do not naively think that there is any public prosecutor in our country at his moment who will pay due attention to claims ex officio and inquire them. Consequently, we call upon the lawyers of this country to do the duty.
We call upon the Turkish people and all peace-lovers to see to it that those who commit such crimes are made accountable for them in order to get rid of such disgrace, of which our country also became a part. We must see to abolish all the reasons that pave the way for people committing suchlike crimes and to become a country that does not send bombs to the Syrian people from their borders but greeting for fraternity and peace.
*English translation slightly revised, but some parts are still difficult to comprehend due to poor translation from Turkish. Textmarking by Blogger
3 http://www.ydh.com.tr/haber.php?HID=10598 http://www.internethaber.com/osman-karahan-el-kaide-avukati- halep-suriye-halepte-oldu–449567h.htm, http://www.gazeteport.com.tr/haber/106856/avukatliktan-militanliga- giden-yolda-oldu, http://www.haberturk.com/tv/haber/766132-turk-el-kaideci-suriyede-vuruldu/0
4 Clashes in the Northern Kurdish zone of Syria called Rojava is continuing between YPG, Al Qaeda linked Al Nusra Front and Islamic State in Iraq and Damascus. At the moment, YPG holds the Cizre, Girmeli, Senyurt, Ceylanpinar and Akcakale border gates at Turkey-Syria border. Also YPG got hold of Til Kocer region and bordergate at Iraq- Syria border as a result of the clashes. http://www.internethaber.com/sinirdaki-kapi-pydnin-elinde-599857h.htm
8 http://blogs.aljazeera.com/topic/syria/syrian-tv-presenter-mohammad-al-saeed-has-been-executed-islamist-armed- group-al-nusra, http://mg.co.za/article/2012-06-27-seven-killed-in-attack-on-syrian-tv-station/
13 Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official Website “Turkey-Syria Political Relations”
14 Fehim Taştekin, Article headed ‘Tragedy on the road to Huka Disaster’ Radikal,02.06.2012.
15 Support to the opponents of Assad from Friend of Syria 22.06.2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/turkce/haberler/2013/06/130622_suriyenin_dostlari.shtml
17 Gülşah Neslihan Akkaya, 5 Questions: Gulf’s Approach to Potential Syria Intervention, Politics, Economy and Society Research Foundation http://setav.org/tr/5-soru-olasi-suriye-mudahalesine-korfezin-bakisi/yorum/7046
18 Radio Voice of Russia 23.10.2013 http://turkish.ruvr.ru/2013_10_23/Suriye-dostlari-Cenevre2/
19 Syria seperated USA and Saudi Arabia, 25 Ekim 2013 http://www.ulusalkanal.com.tr/suriye-abd-ile-s-arabistani- ayirdi-makale,1679.html
20 Gülşah Neslihan Akkaya, 5 Questions: Gulf’s Approach to Potential Syria Intervention, Politics, Economy and Society Research Foundation http://setav.org/tr/5-soru-olasi-suriye-mudahalesine-korfezin-bakisi/yorum/7046
21 http://siyaset.milliyet.com.tr/erdogan-onbinlerce-kilometre-oteden-gelip-irak-a-girenler-bu-dunyada-hakli- oluyorsa-/siyaset/siyasetdetay/19.01.2013/1657689/default.htm
22 22.06.2013 Support to the Opponents of Assad by Syria’s Friends http://www.bbc.co.uk/turkce/haberler/2013/06/130622_suriyenin_dostlari.shtml
24 İHD 27.02.2013 dated Research Concerning the Reflections of Clash Period in Syria and Immigration took place Consequently on the People of Hatay – Research Report
25 http://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/150571-suriyeli-savascilarin-ve-silahlarin-turkiye-ye-girisi-kisitlanmali; http://www.etha.com.tr/Haber/2013/10/11/dunya/katiller-suriyeye-turkiyeden-giriyor/
26 http://www.etha.com.tr/Haber/2013/10/11/dunya/katiller-suriyeye-turkiyeden-giriyor/, http://www.dw.de/t%C3%BCrkiye-%C3%BCzerinden-s%C4%B1z%C4%B1yorlar/a-17152446 , raporun orjinali http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/10/11/you-can-still-see-their-blood
32 http://www.trtturk.com.tr/haber/suriyede-sok-toplu-mezar-goruntuleri.html, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/planet/21916578.asp
36 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/world/middleeast/syria-explosion-damascus.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 37 http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=59743
46 http://ghn.globalheritagefund.com/uploads/documents/document_2107.pdf, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heritage_sites_damaged_during_Syrian_civil_war
38 http://www.radikal.com.tr/dunya/insan_haklari_orgutu_muhalifler_lazkiyede_katliam_yapti-1155162, http://haber.sol.org.tr/yazarlar/sevra-baklaci/lazkiyede-ne-oldu-77822
39 http://haber.sol.org.tr/devlet-ve-siyaset/adanada-el-nusraya-operasyon-iki-kilo-sarin-gazi-ele-gecirildi-haberi- 73820, http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/adanada_el_nusra_operasyonu_2_kilo_sarin_gazi_bulundu-1135579
CONTRIBUTORS and SUPPORTERS
Adnan Serdaroğlu, Chairman of United Metalworkers’ Union
Ahmet Abakay, Journalist
Ahmet Aksüt, Lawyer
Ahmet Meriç Şenyüz, Journalist
Ali Örnek, Journalist
Ali Rıza Aydın, Retired Reporter of Constitutional Court, Writer
Alper Birdal, Journalist, Writer
Bahar Kimyongür, Committee Against Intervention in Syria (Belgium), Writer
Bahattin Özcan Acar, Lawyer
Başar Yaltı, Lawyer
Cengiz Çapak, Lawyer, Secretary of Mersin Bar Association
Cihan Söylemez, Lawyer
Çetin Turan, Lawyer
Çetin Yiğenoğlu, Journalist, Writer
Gül Atmaca, Journalist
Güray Öz, Journalist
Hasan Akgöl, MP
Hatice Elveren Peköz, Writer, Scenarist
Hilmi Yarayıcı, Artist
Hüseyin Aygün, MP
İlhan Cihaner, MP
İzzettin Önder, Retired Academician
Kadir Sev, Retired member of the State Supervisory Council
Korkut Boratav, Economist
Mahmut Alınak, Lawyer, Writer, Former MP Mehmet Ali Ediboğlu, MP
Mehmet Oflazoğlu, Photographer
Mengücek Gazi Çıtırık, Lawyer, President of Adana Bar Association
Merdan Yanardağ, Journalist
Mevlüt Dudu, MP
Musa Çam, MP
Mustafa Kemal Erdemol, Journalist
Mümtaz İdil, Journalist
Necdet Saraç, Journalist
Oğuz Oyan, MP
Ömer Ödemiş, Journalist
Refik Eryılmaz, MP
Semir Aslanyürek, Director
Serdar Şahinkaya, Academician
Serpil Güvenç, Writer Sevra Baklacı, Journalist Şükran Soner, Journalist Uluğ İlve Yücesoy, Lawyer Yiğit Günay, Lawyer Zekeriya Sevimli, Lawyer
ANF : ARB : ASB : FSA : FSG : GCC : GSO : HRW : ICC : ILF : IMB : ISIS : SIC : SNA : SNC : UN : UNGA : UNHCR :
Afhad al-Rasul Brigade
Ahrar ash-Sham Brigade
Free Syrian Army
Friends of Syria Group
Gulf Cooperation Council
Ghuraba ash-Sham Organization
Human Rights Watch
International Criminal Court
Islamic Liberation Front
Idlib Martyrs’ Brigade
Islamic State in Iraq and Sham
Syrian Islamic Front
Syrian National Assembly
Syrian National Council
United Nations General Assembly
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees United States of America
Peace Association of Turkey, gathered for its 5th. General Congress recently and proclaimed on that occasion the report on the war crimes committed by Turkish authorities against Syrian people.
The report, written in cooperation with the “Lawyers for Justice”, basically aims to expose the international campaign held against Syria and Syrian people, by imperialist countries and their collaborators and supported especially by the AKP government of Turkey.
The report, which is a reminiscent of a bill of indictment, includes five chapters. Starting by describing the background of the conflicts in Syria and after evaluating the crimes committed in Syria in terms of international criminal law, the report considers the characteristics, perpetrators and instigators of the mentioned crimes and also the status of regional governments in complicity with these crimes, including the government of Turkey. The report examines in detail the committed crimes and clues related to these crimes, together with the current status of courts filed in Turkey against a section of these crimes. In the conclusion of the report, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Interior Muammer Güler, certain MIT officials, chief of police of Istanbul, Hatay, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Kilis and Mardin, together with prosecutors and judges handling the mentioned cases are accused of committing crime in Office.
Additionally, the conflicting positions and declarations of security forces and government in Turkey, about the truck seized on Reyhanlı for allegedly carrying weapons to Syria, as well as the claims about the business relations between prime minister Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan and Yasin al-Qadi, who is put on “the sponsors of terrorism” list by UN, moreover, Erdoğan’s defining al-Qadi, as a “religious businessman who likes Turkey and wants to make investments there” can be accepted as the latest happenings reflecting the dirty role taken by AKP government in crimes happened in Syria. At the same time, all these once more show the importance of our aim and this piece of work.
On the other hand, it is obvious that, it is nearly impossible to talk about a fully completed report. However, even not periodically, we will try to revise this report in the light of latest information and happenings. Consistently, the copy we are sending you which is written two weeks ago, will be expanded as soon as possible, to cover the latest happenings mentioned above.
Finally, we want to mention that the attached report has been contributed and supported by many lawyers, academicians, journalists and artists, some of which are MP. We hope this report will contribute to the trials to enlighten the crimes targeted Syrian people and to hold responsible the politicians and members of AKP government due to their roles in these imperialist plans.
From now on we can make a step forward to bring this iniative to the international level as we have already named in the documents of WPC. As a first step forward we comradely requested to WPC leadership to sign the herein report as a sign of support and solidarity.
Besides you / your organization, we are also sending the same request to other comradely international organisations as WFTU, WFDY, IADL, WIDF, and member peace organizations of WPC. We are attaching herebelow a text.
Peace Association, Turkey
We the undersigned do agree with the general idea that imperialist forces and regional reactionary regimes have committed serious warcrimes against the people of Syria and declare that we support the initiative taken by the Peace Association of Turkey.
Name & Organization