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Opposition over Erdogan's state visit to Britain is growing

OPPOSITION to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s state visit to Britain tomorrow is growing among MPs, human rights activists and community campaigners.

A cross-party group of MPs has signed an early day motion expressing concern over his visit in light of the upcoming Turkish election “in an environment where dissenting views and challenges to the ruling party are penalised so severely.”

Mr Erdogan is expected to meet Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday and dine with the Queen at some point during his three-day visit.

Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign co-secretary Rosa Gilbert said the group is organising a protest outside Downing Street from 10am on Tuesday because Mr Ergogan is a “war criminal, terrorist and Isis-supporting” president.

She said: “It is well-documented that the Turkish state has financially and militarily backed jihadists in Syria including during its invasion and occupation of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

“In the process of its invasion, the Turkish air force killed Anna Campbell, a British citizen, using military hardware built in Britain and bought from May’s government.

“It is therefore depressingly unsurprising that the British government has rolled out the red carpet for its Nato ally.

“But this visit must be opposed strongly by all those who are disgusted by the debasement of basic humanitarian values by the collusion of the UK in Turkey’s sordid war on Kurds, serving only to cause displacement and genocide in order to line the pockets of arms companies and the Treasury.

“Theresa May is sending a loud message that the lives of Kurds and the freedom of the thousands of political prisoners in Turkey are secondary to the destructive policies which strengthen imperialist interests in the Middle East.

“Like [Israel’s Benjamin] Netanyahu and Prince Bin Salman [of Saudi Arabia] before him, Erdogan is not welcome here.”

Solidarity with the People Of Turkey spokesman Arif Bektas said that it is “insulting” for British authorities to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with someone who silences the press and imprisons dissenting politicians.

“It is an embarrassment that someone who has turned Turkey into an open-air prison and who targets anyone who does not think like him will be a guest here,” he said.

“It is a disgrace to work with dictators for economic and military profit. The state must cancel the visit and acknowledge Erdogan’s oppression and human rights violations.”

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