The KNK’s founding congress was held in Amsterdam on 24th May 1999 as a result of four years of discussions and planning within the Kurdish movement. The event marks a major breakthrough in the political organization of the Kurds, bringing together representatives from all parts of the divided Kurdistan with the common aim to solve the disunion between Kurdish political parties. The Kurdistan National Congress was created to embody the moral unity of the Kurdish nation and to elaborate a concerted strategy for democratic solution to the Kurdish question within the existing states. The KNK Charter, adopted on 26 May 1999, outlines its aims and objectives:
The Congress resides temporarily in Brussels until the return to Kurdistan. It is expanding its activities worldwide and now has offices in many major cities. Its work consists of:
The political lobbying of governments, the EU, the European Parliament, Council of Europe, the UN and other international institutions;
Kongra Netewiya Kurdistan
Disseminating regular information about the changing situation in Kurdistan to the media and public, organizing meetings, seminars, conferences and events promoting Kurdish history and culture;
KNK Head Office
The Congress works for the revival and progress of the Kurdish language and culture.
• The national struggle of Eastern part of Kurdistan has to develop further, and we are ready for a new process to achieve our goals through peaceful means. We have to be ready for these changes and the national unity of our people.
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The Congress tries to achieve peace in the Middle East and the world, as well as working against all forms of discrimination and extremism.”
• Our meeting clearly declares that there are other ethnic groups living among our national geography, and these nations and ethnic minorities are to be protected, respected on their religion, creed, beliefs etc., and we are to establish a secular democratic system, which will respect every other people in the region
“For the sake of strengthening cooperation and the common struggle among the parts of Kurdistan, the Congress works on the basis of national unity and the main interests of the people of Kurdistan.
women’s groups, trade unions and others to raise awareness about political issues and human rights violations in all parts of Kurdistan.
The Congress tries to solve the problems among the people of Kurdistan and the neighboring countries peacefully and in a friendly manner.
Main points decided at the 13th General Meeting of KNK, held in Brussels on 25-26 May 2013.
The Congress rejects all forms of violence, but supports defensive measures.
• Democratisation of Middle East can be achieved through the recognition of Kurdish identity and Kurdistan as a nation. Therefore those countries that are either directly or indirectly involved have to recognise this problem, change their position on this important and sensitive issue, and listen to the Kurdish people’s wishes. On these grounds Kirkuk and other parts of the Kurdish region that were taken have to be included again in the map of Kurdistan, and these countries have to show their respect for the map of Kurdistan and its territory.
The Congress recognizes the social reality of Kurds and Kurdistan, and supports and implements the principle of positive discrimination towards women’s participation in all its activities, projects and organizations.
The Congress supports the national liberation struggle of Kurdistan in all parts (Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria) and regards the provision of any kind of necessary support for the sake of achieving political organization as its duty.
• On this very important gathering the Kurds have paid particular attention to the developments in South Western Kurdistan, (within Syrian state territory). We fully support our Kurdish brothers and sisters who are right now fighting for their freedom.
The Congress, as a representative establishment of the people of Kurdistan, works on an international level for the sake of obtaining and maintaining its interests and for this aim cooperates with the political organizations of Kurdistan.
• In the Northern part of Kurdistan, there is a peace process initiated by Kurdish leader Mr. Ocalan. We are calling on the Turkish government and other countries that may have interest in this process to listen very carefully to the wishes for a democratic solution for the Kurdish nation. Therefore the peace solution or road map, proposed by the Kurdish leader, has to be taken into account, in order to achieve a permanent peace in the country. Therefore we are calling on Turkey to release Mr. Ocalan and all other Kurdish political prisoners.
The Congress supports the preservation of freedom and liberation for all the religions, sects and beliefs in Kurdistan.
Publishing materials, including an official KNK bulletin;
Working alongside politicians, NGOs, human rights group,
• Kurdistan as a nation has the right to live and create their own destiny as a Kurdish nation in their own land.
ABDULLAH OCALAN AND THE PEACE PROCESS
The dialogue between the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MIT), acting on behalf of Prime Minister Erdogan, the AKP government and by extension the full authority of the Turkish State, with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who remains the representative of the Kurdish people, resumed at the end of 2012, following the interruption in 2011. These talks were acknowledged in public at the time of the Newroz celebrations in March 2013. The main Kurdish demands remain a political solution to the Kurdish question and the democratisation of the region. The proposed solution put forward by Abdullah Ocalan and adopted by the Kurdish movement is for self-administration by the local people of their affairs through a system of ‘Democratic Autonomy’.
North Kurdistan / Bakur (Turkey) 20-22 million East Kurdistan / Rojhelat (Iran) 8-10 million West Kurdistan / Rojava (Syria) 3 million
South Kurdistan / Bashur (Iraq) 5-6 million Diaspora Kurds 2.5 million
In order to turn the process of dialogue into serious negotiations three steps would be necessary: the implementation of a legal framework for negotiations, the formation of supervisory bodies, and the establishment of a permanent commission to oversee the negotiations. Abdullah Öcalan has to be released from the “Turkish Guantanamo” in Imrali in order to be free to negotiate on an equal basis with the Turkish side. This is an essential prerequisite before any successful outcome can be reached by the participants. To date, no serious proposals from the Turkish state have been presented for consideration on the way forward. In addition, there have been many serious provocations aimed at derailing the peace process such as the arrest of leading KNK politician Adem Uzun, the Paris assassinations, the violent response to the Gezi Park protests, the Lice and Yüksekova massacres, the Roboski incident, as well as ongoing political operations and heightened tensions against Kurds. Turkish military operations on the border have seen frequent clashes with Kurdish guerrillas despite ceasefires in which they have sought to avoid confrontation and taken up defensive positions. Infighting amongst Turkish rivals for power, the AKP and the Gulen Movement have also led the peace process to an impasse.
Numbering around 40 million, the Kurds are the largest nation in the world without their own state. They have faced dispossession, denial, forced assimilation and genocide in each country they inhabit, particularly after World War I, and despite decades of struggle, they are still unable to fully practice their right to self-determination.
Despite these setbacks, Abdullah Ocalan and the Kurdish side have remained consistent in their aims for peace based on guaranteed rights for the Kurds in a new constitution. They are determined that a democratic solution can be achieved by peaceful means and have resisted provocations to be drawn into conflict remaining steadfast in self-defence. […]
The Kurds appointed a governing council for the canton of Jazeera on 21 January 2014. This is one of the three cantons in the country’s northeast which is called Rojava and which came under the control of Kurds as the civil war raged elsewhere in Syria. “Soon similar councils will be named for Afrin and Kobani, the two other cantons of the Kurdish regions” in Rojava, Saleh Muslim, head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), was quoted as saying.
With the support and recognition of Rojava, the time has come for the realisation of the unity of all Kurdish groups. This can be achieved through a Kurdish National Conference which a preparatory committee is working to organise in an attempt to bring together representatives of Kurds from all the different parts of Kurdistan. Developments in Rojava have inspired Kurds everywhere and the fate of the region will have a dramatic impact on Kurds living in Iran and Turkey. It is anticipated that it should help guarantee the official status for all the Kurds. […]
Excerpts from KNK Statement, 12.1.14
Saleh Muslim said the 22-member council for Jazeera was a necessary step ‘’to ensure there is no political vacuum.” The PYD has been leading the struggle against jihadi opposition groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which have sought to drag the Kurds into the wider conflict.
ROJAVA AND KURDISH UNITY
The 22-member Jazeera council includes representatives with defence, security, planning and finance portfolios. “We cannot wait until there is a political solution for the Syrian crisis to start running our affairs on the ground. People have to have their basic needs covered,” said Saleh Muslim, who stressed that the council was made up of representatives from the different communities that live in the region and was not exclusively Kurdish. “Muslim and Christian Arabs are also taking part. The idea is not for self-rule to be exclusive at all”.
The Kurdish people of Rojava issued a declaration of Democratic Autonomy in November 2013 when three multilingual and multicultural cantons were established by the Kurdish Supreme Council in the liberated region of Syria.
Kurdistan is the name of a land or region in the Middle East. This land was partitioned by Britain, France and their World War I allies after the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. Various ethnic and religious groups inhabit this region, which comprises parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and the majority of the people are Kurds who speak one of several dialects of the Kurdish language.
Excerpts from KNK Statement, 12.1.14