UNISON sends letter of solidarity to KESK and DISK unions

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public service union UNISON, has written a letter of condolence to the organising unions of last Saturday’s peace rally, in which over 100 people died following two bomb blasts. Addressed to Ismail Hakki Tombul, general secretary of the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) , and Kani Beko, Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), the letter reads:

Monday, 12 October, 2015

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of UNISON I send our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of so many of your members’ lives at the Labour, Peace and Democracy Rally in Ankara on Saturday. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of the victims, and our hopes for a full recovery for all those injured in the attack.

UNISON condemns this brutal attack on trade unionists who were campaigning in support of peace, democracy and workers’ rights, and against the increasing violence and repression that the people of Turkey are suffering. We support the call for a full, transparent and independent investigation into the circumstances of the attack and its aftermath. Continue reading

GMB stands with Kurdish and Turkish colleagues

12 October 2015


Turkish authorities must bring perpetrators of atrocity to justice and ensure that citizens can exercise their inalienable right to engage in peaceful protest says GMB

GMB commented on appalling bomb attack in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th where the death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded.

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said “GMB is outraged by the appalling bomb attack on fellow trade unionists and other marchers for peace in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th. The death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded and GMB wishes to express its deepest sympathy to the relatives of the deceased. Continue reading

Carol Mann: Premeditated slaughter in Ankara


On October 5, President Erdogan held an election rally, not on home ground in Turkey, but Strasbourg, France. After prayers led by an imam, the president of what theoretically is the only secular state in the Middle East, launched into belligerent diatribe designed to rouse the 12 000 Turks who had come in from neighbouring countries. Complete with sound and light effects, the crowd, cordoned off with males on one side and bescarfed females on the other, egged him on to cries of “Allah u Akbar”. Had the enemy he was thundering against been ISIS, Turkish presence as a member of NATO in a fellow NATO country could have had some form of legitimacy. But here the target of his wrath was no less that one third of his own population, namely the Kurds and members of the HDP opposition party, in fact those he described in his speech as being All those who wish to separate from us‘. Then he uttered an ominous threat: we will make sure they live regret it. Continue reading

HDP: Extend your condolences to the people, not to the Turkish state


12 October 2015


On October 10th, a Peace Rally that brought together many civil society organizations, revolutionary unions, and progressive and democratic parties, among them HDP, was the target of a horrendous attack. Unfortunately, at least 128 of our fellow citizens were murdered in this attack, and hundreds wounded. We are concerned that the death toll may rise, as 48 among the wounded are in critical condition. This attack will go down as one of the bloodiest in the history of our republic. Continue reading

PiK Trade Union Officer makes call to UK unions after Ankara bombing

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Stephen Smellie – Trade Union Liaison Officer Peace in Kurdistan
(Deputy Convenor UNISON Scotland)


The trade union confederations in Turkey, KESK and DISK, along with the Engineers and Architects Association and the Medical Association organised the demonstration and rally in Ankara on Saturday which was attacked by 2 bomb blasts which have resulted in the death of over 100 people with many hundreds more being injured. The demonstration was called under the slogan of ‘Labour for Peace.’ Continue reading

Civaka Azad statement: Bomb blasts hit peace rally in Ankara: some 97 dead

civaka azad

Source: Civaka Azad, 10 October 2015

A peace rally outside the main train station in Ankara was hit by large bomb explosions this morning killing some 97 people. Eyewitnesses talk about hundreds of injured. Medical staff and civilians who rushed to help were allegedly attacked by the police with gas grenades.

The peace rally had been called by the trade unions DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Workers), KESK (Confederation Workers of Public Trade Unions) as well as by association such as TMMOB (Engineers and Architects Chamber of Turkey) and TTB (Doctors Chambers of Turkey). The call was also supported by the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) and several left and democratic parties and civil society organisations.   The gathering was to deliver a message of peace, democracy and solidarity in Turkey. According to the HDP MP Sirri Surreyya Onder there were three bomb explosions at the rally mainly targeting the HDP block and the Kurds at the rally. Continue reading

Statements call for Ocalan’s release on the anniversary of his expulsion from Syria


The Syrian war started with the expulsion of Abdullah Öcalan

His freedom is our freedom


On 9 October 1998 Abdullah Öcalan was expelled from Syria, due to pressure from the Turkish government. As a result of an international plot he was later kidnapped and since 1999 has been in a Turkish prison, held under the most severe conditions of solitary confinement. Nevertheless in 2007 the Turkish state started negotiations with him as the representative of the Kurdish freedom movement. However, since 5 April this year he has been cut out of the negotiating delegation and has been kept completely isolated. This treatment of a significant political prisoner holds an entire society hostage and has a detrimental influence on peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Peace negotiations with the participation of Abdullah Öcalan, as well as his freedom, are directly linked to the freedom of the people in the Middle East. Continue reading

Global Rally for the freedom and reconstruction of Kobane

global rally kobane

Activists from across the world have come together in a huge joint effort calling for action for Kobane on the 1st November 2015. One year on since the last global call for action spurred hundreds of rallies, demos and actions across dozens of countries, and months after the worst of the siege, humanitarian aid is still being blocked from entering the city and people are in urgent need of basic medical supplies, food, and clothing. This appeal calls for a humanitarian corridor to be opened up and for the freedom and reconstruction of the city, and has support from prominent individuals such as Prof. Noam Chomsky, Reem Khelani and Dr. Binayak Sen.

In Kobane and throughout Rojava, a new society is being developed by the people from the ground up. In a sense, this is radical peace building in which statism, capitalism, nationalism, misogyny and racism, as well as the social fractures they cause, are being built out of the fabric of society. To do that, a new physical and material space must be constructed too – from ecologically-constructed schools and cooperative factories to villages for women survivors of domestic violence. In addition, much of the dangerous work of rubble-clearing, mine-clearing and refugee support is being done by citizens of Kobane with no outside help. We call on you to support those efforts and demand the opening of a humanitarian corridor so all the urgently needed materials can get through.


Sign the call: If you want to add your name to this appeal, respond to this email with your name, organisation and profession.

Join us on 1st November: We will be helping to coordinate a rally in London at the Kurdish Community Centre (11 Portland Gardens, Haringey) from 2pm that afternoon where there will be speakers, music, dance and more. More information will follow and keep an eye on the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign website for more details.

Organise your own action: Why not organise your own action where you are? It could be a demo or a rally; a workshop or reading session; a fundraiser; a viral picture campaign or even a Twitter storm. Whatever you do, don’t forget to make it noisy and visible – we want the Turkish government, British government and international community to hear us when we demand freedom for Kobane. Get in touch if you have some ideas and would like some support in getting it off the ground.


Global Rally for the freedom and reconstruction of Kobane

Date for Global Rally: 1 November 2015

The determined resistance of the Kurdish men and women in this strategic border region of Rojava (Western Kurdistan in Syria) inspired people and governments all over the world when they successfully repelled the siege of their city Kobane by the Islamic State (ISIS) just over a year ago. Their fight became a symbol of popular resistance to the merciless violence and horrendous atrocities committed by ISIS.

In response, on 1 November 2014 an urgent international call for a global day of action for Kobane and for Humanity was launched appealing to people all over the world to show solidarity with Kobane and for humanitarian and material assistance.

Hundreds of individuals and organisations representing thousands of members from across the world signed this call including prominent individuals like Professor Noam Chomsky and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who have both been long-time supporters of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination, as well as Nobel Peace Prize Laureates like Adolfo Erez Esquivel, and Jose Ramos-Horta, former President of East Timor and Nora Cortinas, cofounder of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and Palestinian singer Reem Kelani.

But while there is no official support the logistics of sending aid to Kobane has been fraught with insuperable difficulties and the people of Kobane have continued to suffer with many families fleeing to a place of greater safety. That is why it is even more urgent now to set up a humanitarian corridor from Turkey to Kobane to facilitate aid to flow through to reach the city, which is still facing ISIS assaults.

Pressure therefore needs to be brought on the government of the AKP in Ankara to take immediate action to let essential medical supplies, food and clothing, to pass through to Kobane.

Despite the relentless onslaught of ISIS forces over the past months, Kobane is still standing proud and free. The people are still putting up fierce resistance and are determined to defend their self-governing administration which is one of three cantons in the Democratic Autonomous Administration of Rojava (Western Kurdistan, Syria) who are secular, democratic, non-sectarian and pro-gender equality.

The tragic truth is that the death of the young Kurdish boy, Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on the shore of Bodrum and shocked the world, need never have happened if the people of Kobane had received proper assistance from the international agencies a year ago.

Now is the time to aid Kobane and by so doing show solidarity with the forces who are struggling for a free, democratic and peaceful Syria.

Now is the time for the world to recognize that democratic autonomy in Rojava and the “Rojava Model” promises a free future for all peoples in Syria.

It is time to talk peace and to act for peace. Supporting Kobane is to support peace.

We encourage people all over the world to show their solidarity with Kobanê.

Go to the streets and demonstrate on 1 November 2015.

We urge you to join the Global Rally for Kobanê

Support the Resistance against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity!

SIGNATORIES: Prof Kariane WESTRHEIM, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)-Norway; Prof Michael GUNTER, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)-US; PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN-UK; Noam CHOMSKY-US; John BERGER, novelist, art critic, Booker Prize winner-France; Mark THOMAS, Author/comedian and activist-UK; Jeremy HARDY, comedian-UK; Baroness Helena KENNEDY-UK; Mike MANSFIELD QC, President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers-UK; LORD AVEBURY, House of Lords-UK; Bruce KENT, Vice-President, Pax Christi-UK; Baroness Glenys KINNOCK-UK; Baroness Jenny JONES, House of Lords-UK; Baroness Jenny TONGE, House of Lords–UK; Derek WALL, International Co-ordinator of the Green Party-UK; Dr Dafydd IWAN, Past President Plaid Cymru Party of Wales-UK; David GRAEBER, Prof of Anthropology at London School of Economics and author-UK;Dr Radha D’SOUZA, author and social justice activist-UK; Margaret OWEN OBE, human rights lawyer and Director of Widows for Peace through Democracy-UK; Janet BIEHL, author and translator-US; Penny GREEN, Professor of Law and Globalisation , Director, International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London-UK; ROJAVA SOLIDARITY LONDON group-UK; Houzan MAHMOUD, Kurdish feminist-UK; Melanie GINGELL barrister, Doughty Street Chambers-UK; Dr Thomas Jeffrey MILEY, Lecturer in Political Sociology , Cambridge University; Dr Johanna RIHA, Epidemiologist; Prof Bill BOWRING, Birkbeck College, School of Law, University of London-UK; Mary DAVIS,Visiting Professor of Labour History at Royal Holloway University London-UK; Nick HILDYARD, policy adviser-UK; Stephen SMELLIE, UNISON Lanarkshire, Scotland; Jonathan BLOCH, author-UK; Robert ATKINS-solicitor-UK; Les LEVIDOW, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)-UK; Saleh MAMON, CAMPACC-UK; Joe RYAN, Chair, Westminster Diocese for Justice and Peace-UK; Eric DRAITSER, Founder, Editor -StopImperialism.org-US; Dr Felix PADEL Visiting Professor, JNU, Delhi-India; CORPORATE WATCH-UK; Bob MCGLYNN, Neither East or West-US; Bill WEINBERG, World War 4 Report-US;Lucie C. MCALLISTER, Neither East or West-US; Mike WOLOSHIN, Chicago Chapter 26 of Veterans for Peace- US; Prof. Haci AKMAN, University of Bergen-Norway; Efraim BULUT, Cardiologist, Haraldsplass Deaconess Hospital-Norway; Prof Sølvi LILLEJORD-Norway; Prof Nils GILJE, University of Bergen-Norway; Jan Bojer VINDHEIM, Green Party, South-Trondelag District Council-Norway; Erling FOLKVORD, Writer and former MP, Red Party-Norway; Svein OLSEN, Red Party, City Council Bodo-Norway; Arne Liljedahl LYNNGAARD, The Church City Mission, Director, Bergen-Norway; MEP Anna GOMES (S&D) MEP Bart STAES (Verts/ALE); MEP Bodil VALERO (Verts/ALE); MEP Brando BENEFEI (S&D), MEP Eleonora FORENZA (GUE/NGL); MEP Fabio DE MASI (GUE/NGL), MEP Gabiele ZIMMER (GUE\NGL); MEP Javier NART (ALDE); MEP Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA (ALDE); MEP Jean LAMBERT (Verts/ALE) ; MEP José BOVE (Verts/ALE) ; MEP Josef WEIDENHOLZER (S&D); MEP Malin BJORK (GUE/NGL); MEP Marie ARENA (S&D); MEP Marie-Christine VERGIAT (GUE/NGL) ; MEP Rina Kari RONJA (GUE\NGL); Mutlu CIVIROGLU, Kurdish Affairs Analyst-US; Liz DAVIES, Vice-President Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers-UK; Sarah PARKER, Haringey Left Unity-UK; Kawah MILANI, Rojava Harikari – London-UK; Sudhir PATTNAIK, Media person, Bhubaneswar-India; Dr. Lungthuiyang RIAMEI; Assistant Professor, JDM, Delhi University-India; Dr Binayak SEN, Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai-India; Prof Ilina SEN, Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies, Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai- India; Sudhir PATTNAIK, Media person, Bhubaneswar, India; Ajay MAHURKAR, IGNOU,N.Delhi-India;. Samarendra DAS, Foil Vedanta-UK; Miriam ROSE, Foil Vendata-UK; Harem KAREM, editor “The Pasewan”-UK; Arya THOMAS, JNU. Delhi-India; SUBHASHINI, Delhi University, Delhi-India; NAYANJYOTI, DU, Delhi-India; David MORGAN, journalist and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign-UK; John HUNT, journalist & Kurdistan Tribune-UK; MANCHESTER NUJ-UK; MANCHESTER TRADES COUNCIL- UK; Alexander RUBCHENKO, Neither East Nor West-NYC/Moscow Trust Group-US; Aagot VALLE, former MP, Socialist Party-Norway, former Nobel Peace Prize Committee Member-Norway; Yngve SÆTERÅS, actor and playwright-Norway;


For information contact

Kobanê Reconstruction Board
Rue Jourdan 48, 1060 Brussels – BELGIUM
reconstructkobane@gmail.com +32.485.103914


EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)

Kariane Westrheim, Chairperson

Email: Kariane.westrheim@gmail.com


UK: Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Kurdish People’s Assembly

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk  – http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890


UNISON delegation visits Diyarbakir amidst ongoing violence and intimidation


29 September 2015

A delegation of four trade unionists from Scotland: Stephen Smellie, deputy convenor of Unison Scotland; Viv Thomson, Chaiperson of UNISON’s national women’s commitee; Sarah Collins, UNISON East Ayrshire branch; and Paul Smellie, young member of Unite the Union, along with”Glasgow girl” Roza Salih*)  visited Diyarbakir in southern Turkey last week following news reports of military curfews in the predominantly Kurdish region. Continue reading

Hunger Strike for the Freedom of Öcalan

We received this statement yesterday from the Freedom for Ocalan Committee, which has initiated a 5 day hunger strike for Abdullah Ocalan and to call once again for his release from prison in Imrali island. The campaign for freedom for the recognised leader of the Kurdish movement continues.

Hunger Strike for the Freedom of Öcalan

Ocalan flagWe, the members of Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Committee and representatives of Kurdish institutions in Europe have started a five-day hunger strike (28 September -2 October 2015) to demand the freedom for Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The hunger strike action is a symbolic appeal as part of the “Freedom for Öcalan” campaign, and calls on the Kurdish people living in Europe, their political friends, allies from Turkey and all those waging a common struggle against fascism under the democracy and freedom bloc to stand by the participants of the action for Öcalan’s freedom.
Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers