Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is accused of widespread human rights abuses in his country and who has made recent war overtures to Greece and northern Syria, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the chairman of Pakistan's Senate.
In a letter posted on the Senate of Pakistan's Twitter account to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is tasked with selecting Peace Prize laureates, Sen. Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani nominated Erdogan because of the Turkish leader's efforts in trying to bring a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine.
"This war had quickly turned into a nuclear flashpoint that could have ended in catastrophe for the whole world," Sanjrani wrote. "Due to his untiring efforts, timely and effective interventions with both sides, he singlehandedly averted a global disaster."
Sanjrani also credited Erdogan for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal between Russia and Ukraine brokered by Turkey and the United Nations. It allowed shipments of Ukrainian wheat, corn and other agricultural products from three ports in Odesa, creating a safe corridor out of the Black Sea through the Bosporus Strait, which is controlled by Turkey.
"The Black Sea Grain Initiative also saved the region from a devastating famine," Sanjrani wrote.
According to the Nobel Prize website, the Peace Prize is to be given to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." The deadline for nominations is Jan. 31, and a winner will be announced in October.
Pakistan, an Islamist state, has good relations with Turkey, a NATO member, and Erdogan's Islamist-tinged ruling party.
Erdogan has ruled Turkey with an iron fist since being elected president in 2014, jailing journalists and labeling opponents as terrorists. Last month, a Turkish court sentenced Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, said to be Erdogan's chief rival in this year's election, to 2½ years in prison and banned him from politics for insulting members of Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council three years ago.
In April, a State Department report detailed human rights abuses in Turkey in 2021, stating, "Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: arbitrary killings; suspicious deaths of persons in custody; forced disappearances; torture; arbitrary arrest and continued detention of tens of thousands of persons, including opposition politicians and former members of parliament, lawyers, journalists [and] human rights activists."
The report went on to say, "The government took limited steps to investigate, prosecute and punish members of the security forces and other officials accused of human rights abuses; impunity remained a problem. The government took limited steps to investigate allegations of high-level corruption."
Erdogan has made public overtures in recent months about sending tanks into northern Syria to fight Kurdish militias, some of whom are working with the U.S. in the fight against Islamic State terrorists. He also has threatened to strike NATO ally Greece with ballistic missiles in disputes over gas drilling in the Mediterranean, Cyprus and the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
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