(New York) - When Sudanese President Omar El Bashir arrives in Ankara on January 21 for a state visit, the Turkish government should publicly urge him to end the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Turkish government.

"It's surprising that the Turkish government has chosen to honor a foreign leader responsible for massive human rights violations," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The Turkish authorities should affirm their commitment to human rights principles by calling on Bashir to end the atrocities in Darfur."  
 
This will be the Sudanese president's first official visit to Turkey in more than two decades, and he will be greeted with a full military ceremony during the state visit.  
 
Human Rights Watch called on the Turkish government to use the opportunity to press the Sudanese leader to end the atrocities and abuses continuing in Darfur. In particular, Turkish President Abdullah Gül should insist that Bashir immediately end direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians, take effective steps to rein in and disarm the "Janjaweed" militia, and proactively facilitate rapid deployment of the hybrid peacekeeping force. Sudan's president must also ensure those responsible for past and continuing crimes are brought to account.