Should nomads travel into countries with war crime problems?

Today I read an article about hundreds of thousands of Kurds who were misplaced and lost their homes during military siege of Kurdish cities Sur and Diyarbakir by the Turkish Army. Source below:

I was aware for some time now that the Turkish military is using excessive force against its Kurdish minority, especially after the military coup crackdown this summer. This is one of such articles

Now, looking from a broader perspective, do you think we should travel into countries which are going to use the tax money (which we will contribute to) to finance military campaigns with heavy human rights violations and consequences against civilian lives? Isn’t that like crowdfunding war crime campaigns? How do other people observe such cases? This article’s focal point is Turkey, but I am sure there are many other countries around the world with similar problems.

If you do that probably 80% of the world would be out of the question for you :slight_smile:
Also, take Turkey for example - whether what you read is true or not (I wouldn’t trust one word that Amnesty says) - most people there are good people and you will be punishing them mostly…

I agree with the above (although I strongly disagree with their comments about Amnesty International).

Except for truly exceptional cases like North Korea, the vast majority of tourism money goes to ordinary people. It’s hard to buy anything completely ethically sourced in the 21st century. Cheap clothes? Child labor or unsafe, exploitative workplaces. Electronics? Metals from conflict areas. Tourism is no different. Some of the money you spend will almost always go to corrupt or downright evil people, but the majority won’t.

There’s two sides to that coin. On the one hand, you’re funding the government to commit crimes, on the other hand you’re also influencing the people you meet.

If you’re a non-US Westerner than chances are that your country is seeking engagement with pretty much every country or territory in the world. Many European countries, for example, have engagement programs with the above-mentioned North Korea.

I’d argue that even in that case “tourism” is beneficial. I once got to talk to Andrei Lankov on a trip to Seoul, he’s one of the top North Korea researchers there. His position was that pretty much any contact between the DPRK and the outside world would be beneficial for longtime change (i.e. North Koreans seeing perfectly normal and friendly Westerners that have cool gadgets that they don’t have, etc.).

In the case of Turkey: on the one hand, the situation there is worsening in general, but if you can showcase your western liberal democratic values to the people there sway them to think about more openness, to be more accepting to LGBT people, to see that there are many perfectly decent Westerners and that we aren’t depraved or anything, then I guess that’s a pretty good thing.

I’ve personally traveled to parts of Bosnia & Herzegovina, where a genocide occurred during the Balkans wars a little over a decade ago. Remnants of the war were still really visible outside of the tourist core of the city, which was incredible and sobering to see, but people just kind of went on with their lives around neighborhoods with bombed-out buildings. In terms of safety, I never felt unsafe during my time there, but that being said, I did stay in one of the nicest hotels in the city and didn’t spend much time out after dark. Since many of the countries which have suffered war crimes still have depressed economies, I’d imagine you’d probably have similar buying power in those types of places and be able to keep yourself out of bad areas, as terrible as that sounds.

Though I haven’t had firsthand experience with it, I’ve heard from a friend whose spent lots of time in Africa that Rwanda is one of her favorite places on the continent despite going through a genocide as well.

I guess since your question focuses on the ethics of traveling to these places, I’d personally feel it’s OK to visit a place in which war crimes occurred in the past, but I don’t think I’d be jumping up and down to go somewhere that’s actively committing violations. Either way, coming back with an opinion of your own is an admirable thing to do.

Thanks for your contribution.
@nahemnahem poins above that in most cases part of our money will through tax go towards funding abuses or illegal military enterprises. While that is true, in the case of Turkey, for me personally, human rights abuses in that country and within their military enterprises are so evident and to such a large extent (this is my own political view with which some may or may not agree), that there’s a difference between travelling there, and to other countries with whose practices and military deployments we might not agree with, or consider abusive. And on one side, we would deprive ordinary people of tourist income, on the other, if we travel, we maintain status quo and business as usual. That’s what makes this argument curious for me.

You mean Mostar? Where tourists go on day trips from Dubrovnik, It is hardly off the beaten path and I think you are being more a little dramatic here. It is perfectly safe to wonder round there in the dark.