European Lawyers Delegation visits Diyarbakir

Press release

A delegation of European lawyers will visit Diyarbakir from 21st to 24th January 2016. The 13 participants come from Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Austria. Two European lawyers’ organisations are supporting this initiative, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) and the European Democratic Lawyers (EDL) and also the “Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane”

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Kurdish Friendship Group in European Parliament calls for end to violence

The appeal below, signed by 5 MEPs of the Kurdish Friendship Group in the European Parliament, was circulated on the weekend:

The crackdown against the Kurdish people must stop

Call of the EP-Kurdish Friendship Group

For a month now, the Turkish army has been running jointly with the special police forces an operation of unprecedented violence against the towns located in the Kurdish region of Turkey.

10,000 men supported by tanks and helicopters are mobilized for this offensive which virtually turned the country’s Southeast into a war zone.
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Tommy Sheppard MP attends Scottish solidarity demo

This weekend Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan held a demonstration in central Edinburgh to protest continuing attacks by the Turkish military on Kurdish cities and civilians.

The group delivered a letter to the Turkish Consul, which expresses concern for the women and children killed since last summer and calls for the Turkish government to end the curfews in Kurdish towns. The letter was signed by several other union members, Scottish Green party members and activists.  Continue reading

Ottawa protests atrocities in Kurdistan

We received this press release from our friends in Ottawa, Canada, who gathered today in Parliament Hill to protest the atrocities taking place in the Kurdish regions of Turkey:

To the Canadian Press and General Public:

Ottawa –

The Kurdish Community will gather in Parliament Hill at 11:00 am on Monday January 18th, 2016 to demonstrate against the Turkish State atrocities in North Kurdistan (Turkey).  Continue reading

REPAK Information File: Women of Resistance targeted by the state

Below is an excerpt from the latest information file published by the Kurdish Women’s Relations Office (REPAK. It details how women have been targeted by the Turkish state over the last several months.

You can download the full report here

Information File:

‘Women of Resistance Targeted By the State’
Turkish State Terror in Kurdistan and Feminicide

As of 11 January 2016

Contents

I. ‘Fight against terrorism’ or state terror against the people? Political evaluation and call

II. Chronology: Curfews

III. ‘Shoot the women first!’ List of women killed during curfews or by extralegal execution

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International Initiative expresses concern over Ocalan’s wellbeing

PRESS STATEMENT

8 January 2016

Concerns about Abdullah Öcalan’s life: What is happening in Imrali Island Prison?

While Öcalan’s and Imrali Island’s total isolation continues since April 2015, now two inmates have been removed from the island and isolated elsewhere. This gives rise to the question: What is happening in Imrali? Is Öcalan’s life in danger?

The Imrali island prison is the Guantanamo of Europe. Over the 17 years of Öcalan’s imprisonment it has had an arbitrary and continuous aggravated isolation regime in place[1]. Bringing in a few other prisoners in 2009 has not removed this regime–on the contrary: the number of persons subjected to an aggravated isolation regime has increased. This regime has only relaxed slightly while a political process was in place; when there is no process the isolation regime turns into total isolation with no news from prisoners, no lawyer-client consultations, family visits, letters or telephone calls for any prisoner in Imrali (Öcalan is denied the right to phone anyway). Continue reading

HDP information on military siege on Kurdish cities

HDP INFORMATION DESK (05.01.2016)

 

Civilian deaths in sieges imposed by the security forces

The first of these sieges, described as “curfews,” was imposed in Varto, starting on 16 August. There are sieges still in course in Cizre, Silopi and Sur districts. “Curfews” have been declared 56 times in 20 districts of 7 cities and so far these “curfews” have totaled 274 days.  In some districts where curfews have been officially lifted, there is still a de facto siege. The most recent situation in 3 districts is as follows: Continue reading

The State Doesn’t Talk—It Only Shoots

Since last summer the Turkish state has acted brutally against all opposition in southeastern Turkey.

A Diyarbakir resident reports.

by Ercan Ayboga

WOCHENZEITUNG (WOZ), January 7, 2016

Translated by Janet Biehl.

It’s freezing cold in Amed, as the city of Diyarbakir is known to its residents. Over ten centimeters of snow blankets the ground, something that happens only every three or four years. And at exactly this moment, fighting is escalating in Amed’s old neighborhood of Sur and in the cities of Cizre and Silopi, in Sirnak province. I’m here in the press office of the municipal administration, along with three journalists and a researcher. These days the office serves as a de facto base for journalists and researchers from western Turkey and abroad. We talk about what has been going on in the region for the past few months.

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Bristol hosts event on Rojava Revolution

On 14 December, the Rojava Solidarity group in Bristol hosted an event at the Malcolm X Centre on the origins and politics of the Rojava Revolution:

“Caught between the expansionist ISIS and escalating oppression by the Turkish state is one of the largest and most interesting revolutionary struggles of our times. Rojava, comprising three regions of northern Syria, is home to 2 million people while across the border in South-Eastern Turkey an increasing number of villages and neighbourhoods are declaring themselves autonomous and committed to self defence. Within these areas is a social experiment that incorporates feminism, ecology, has survived four years of military assaults. For much of this time they have been the only successful opposition to ISIS.”

Watch the meeting below:

Government responds with same pre-scripted answer to questions on Turkey

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign patron Kate Osamor MP asked a series of questions of the the UK government last week, in an attempt to gauge whether Turkey’s obvious duplicity – bombing PKK targets and Kurdish civilians in recent months apparently in the name of fighting ISIS while covertly supporting ISIS and affiliated groups – is at all an issue for the UK’s relationship with it NATO ally.

The written responses she received were, frankly, quite incredible, for two reasons. First, they reveal the UK appears to have no intention of questioning Turkey, even as documented evidence mounts of their support for ISIS on the one hand and of major human rights abuses in military operations against the Kurds on the other. Secondly, they represent a callous disregard for the concerns being raised by issuing a stock answer, identical word-for-word, for each question asked. In fact, it is the exact same answer given by FCO representative Baroness Anelay when questioned about the Turkish military hitting more PKK targets than ISIS positions and arresting more Kurdish activists that ISIS members. The answer was simply this:

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) continues to kill Turkish police and security forces. The PKK must cease its violence and the peace process needs to be resumed. We support Turkey’s right to defend itself against all forms of terrorism.

The Government continues to monitor closely Turkey’s democratic reforms, including as part of the EU accession process, focusing particularly on freedom of expression, respect for the rule of law and minority rights.

We welcome Turkey’s invaluable contribution to the international campaign against Daesh, particularly its agreement for the use of its airspace and airbases, as a member of the Global Coalition committed to defeating it. Turkey has been carrying out strikes against Daesh since July 2015, and have detained over 2,500 Daesh suspects since 2013, of whom one third are foreigners. Turkey recognises the role that Syrian Kurds have to play in the fight against Daesh, and accepts that Syrian Kurds receive Coalition support.

It was David Lidington MP, Minster for Europe, who answered each of Kate Osamor’s questions – 4 in total –  with the same answer above. We can only speculate as to how and why this stock answer has been issued by the Government.

They were also asked about whether concerns had been raised about the use of curfews in Silva, CIzre and elsewhere, which has led to the deaths of nearly 100 civilians. Once again, the answer shows disregard for the severity of the violence or the lives of the civilians on the receiving end of it. And once again, the same answer was given twice:

 

We welcome the visit on 15-16 October of Turkey’s national human rights body to Cizre and Sirnak to conduct analysis and research on the recent events there.

We continue to monitor the human rights situation in Turkey closely and raise concerns regularly with the Turkish authorities.