Turkey, peace talks and the PKK: Freedom and Justice for the Kurds

Panel Discussion

Friday, 28 June 2013, 6.30pm
Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A (closest tube Holborn)

 

Chaired by Professor Bill Bowring, President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Panel Rights (ELDH); International Secretary, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Speakers include Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer; Melanie Gingell, barrister Doughty Street Chambers; member of the Bar Human Rights Committee; Dr Ozlem Galip, researcher and lecturer, University of Oxford; Prof Dr Michael Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University, Secretary General of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Barry White, National Organiser of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, member of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

Over recent months dramatic developments have been taking place in Turkey with the emergence of direct talks between representatives of the Turkish government and the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan. The seminar will explore how a lasting peace can be secured now that a ceasefire has been followed by the start of a phased withdrawal of Kurdish guerrillas.

The more than 30 year war has cost Turkey an estimated $300 billion in lost revenues, dispersed millions of people from their homeland and has continued to destabilise the country. The conflict has led to a continuing clampdown on civil liberties, the implementation of draconian anti-terrorism laws, repeated mass arrests and the imposition of a state of martial law in the Kurdish areas.

The panel discussion will seek to show why the peace talks represent a historic shift in Turkey and why both participants deserve support as the consequences of failure would be disastrous for the country and the region. If parallels can be drawn with cases such as in Northern Ireland and South Africa, a fundamental component had been the willingness to bring the armed groups ‘’in from the cold’’ as both Sinn Fein and the ANC were involved in talks that succeeded in reaching mutually acceptable solutions to historic conflicts.

It will be argued that the moment is now right to review the proscribing of the PKK as lifting the ban will contribute towards this vitally important peace process. Turkey’s allies should also work to ensure that grotesque abuses of power as the mass trials no longer form part of the country’s political manoeuvring against its Kurdish population who seek to become free and equal citizens under a new democratic constitution.

This event is free and open to all.

Organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, with the support of Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Kurdistan National Congress UK, Kurdish Federation UK

For further information contact Estella Schmid: estella24@tiscali.co.uk tel 020 7586 5892

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

Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)

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