France should face human rights violations in Africa, AK Party Spox says

Published 13.02.2019 00:29

French authorities should face human rights violations and murders they were involved in from Cameroon to Algeria, Justice and Development (AK Party) Party Spokesman said Monday.

"Facing history is essential for France," Ömer Çelik told reporters following a central executive committee meeting of the party. "What France should judicially face, from Cameroon to Algeria, is the acts of human rights violations and killings by the French authorities.

"What is tragic is [Emmanuel Macron] talks about facing history. Facing history must be a term that should be used in another meaning for France," he said.

"While the crimes committed by the French authorities are obvious, hiding behind a term like 'facing history' is a result of a lobby support approach of Macron who is in a political turmoil," he said referring to the French president's tweets about the 1915 events.

Last week, Macron announced April 24 as a day to commemorate the so-called Armenian genocide.

Turkey objects the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.

Regarding the establishment a safe zone in northern Syria, Çelik said: "It is not possible to say that fruitful talks [regarding safe zone in Syria] with the U.S. President Trump disseminated to grassroots."

He said Turkey's concerns about its security were not matters of negotiation which could be extended over time.

The safe zone issue was first brought to the global stage when Erdoğan visited the U.S. nearly six years ago, in May 2013. In a surprising move, U.S. President Donald Trump in mid-January announced the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.

Trump made the decision during a phone call with Erdogan, in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination over the civil war-torn country.

And on the issue of Chinese authorities' systematic assimilation policy toward Uighur Turks, Çelik said Turkey respects China's integrity and security "but holding more than 1 million Uighur Turks in concentration camps and prisons is unlawful."

China's Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of Xinjiang's population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

China stepped up its restrictions on the region in the past two years, banning men from growing beards and women from wearing veils and introducing what many experts see as the world's most extensive electronic surveillance program, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As many as 1 million people in the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to U.S. officials and U.N. experts.

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