KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 29 JULY 2019 – 20 AUGUST 2019

NEWS

  1. We will not be silenced, we will not be stopped
  2. Öcalan calls for sacrifice for unity among Kurds
  3. HDP deputies Günay and Paylan meet Mothers of Plaza de Mayo
  4. Germany sells 216 million euros of military equipment to Turkey
  5. 15th August 1984 – more than a military offensive
  6. German state’s war crimes in Kurdistan
  7. “South Kurdistan parties must not fall into Turkey’s trap”
  8. Turkey accused of extensive links to former Isis fighters

 OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS

  1. PKK’s Karayılan: We base on Öcalan’s orders and instructions
  2. Syrian Kurdish commander sets conditions for safe zone talks with Turkey
  3. A Syria Safe Zone Will Create More Problems Than It Solves
  4. Salih Muslim: The path to solution passes through Imralı
  5. Behind the Lines: Shane Bauer Travels to Syria to Uncover America’s Role in the Syrian War
  6. Remembering the Treaty of Lausanne
  7. Öcalan’s Strategic Success on Imralı
  8. Rojava Revolution – seven years on
  9. Can Syrian Kurds’ offer unlock door to compromise with Turkey?
  10. Turkey’s Kurdish problem—predicting Ankara’s next steps
  11. Various Players Maneuver For An Uncertain Future In Syria
  12. Might US-Turkish relations become like Israeli-Turkish ones?
  13. Turkish journalists facing unprecedented surge of physical assaults
  14. Sarah Glynn: Hope Vs fascism in Syria and Iraq

STATEMENTS

  1. Peace in Kurdistan: Celebrating 15 August 1984
  2. Statement from Abdullah Öcalan
  3. A forest for internationalist martyrs of the Rojava Revolution
  4. Letter to UK Foreign Secretary on Hasankeyf and the Ilisu Dam
  5. Trade unionists’ letter to the Home Secretary: Don’t Criminalise International Solidarity – Border Security Act 2019

ACTIONS, CAMPAIGNS

  1. Weʼre raising £1,000 to UK Freedom for Ocalan Trade Union Campaign

BOOKS

  1. Sakine Cansiz
  2. The Kurds of Northern Syria: Governance, Diversity and Conflicts
  3. (UPCOMING) Building Free Life: Dialogues with Abdullah Öcalan will be published in English in September 2019

CULTURE/ARTS/EVENTS

  1. “Don’t Criminalise Solidarity – CAMPACC Event on Vimeo

 

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NEWS

1. We will not be silenced, we will not be stopped

19 August 2019 | Peoples’ Democratic Party, Central Executive Board

“Our Municipal Co-chairs, who were elected with 63% of the vote in Diyarbakır, 56% of the vote in Mardin and 53% of the vote in Van, have been removed from duty with an Interior Ministry order based on lies and unlawful grounds. A severe operation of detentions targeting our municipal council members and employees continues at this moment.”

https://www.hdp.org.tr/en/english/statements/we-will-not-be-silenced-we-will-not-be-stopped/13404

2. Öcalan calls for sacrifice for unity among Kurds

16 August 2019|ANF

Kurdish People’s leader Abdullah Öcalan called for sacrifices to be made for unity among Kurds.Abdullah Öcalan’s brother Mehmet Öcalan went to the Imrali Island on August 12 for an Eid visit and spoke to the Mesopotamia Agency (MA) afterwards. Mehmet Öcalan said he was able to visit Imrali 3 times since 2016 and that the recent Eid visit lasted an hour.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/Oecalan-calls-for-sacrifice-for-unity-among-kurds-36944

3. HDP deputies Günay and Paylan meet Mothers of Plaza de Mayo

16 August 2019|ANF

HDP Mardin MP Ebru Günay and Amed MP Garo Paylan are on a tour in Latin America.

HDP deputies Ebru Günay and Garo Paylan met with the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. During the march that takes place every Thursday in Plaza de Mayo, Günay and Paylan greeted the members of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, and then walked with Nora Cortiñas, of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo – Founding Line.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/hdp-deputies-guenay-and-paylan-met-mothers-of-plaza-de-mayo-36937

 4. Germany sells 216 million euros of military equipment to Turkey

16 August 2019|ANF

Turkey is Germany’s third best non-EU customer, coming in after China and Russia.

The German government announced that the country sold 216 million euros worth of military equipment to Turkey last year.Germany sells military equipment for both civilian and military use, in what they call “dual use”.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/germany-sells-216-million-euros-of-military-equipment-to-turkey-36942

5. 15th August 1984 – more than a military offensive

15 August 2019|ANF

“The dynamic and well-organized liberation struggle under the leadership of the PKK is now present and alive in all parts of the world. Wherever there are Kurds, there is also the spirit of the PKK.”

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/15th-august-1984-more-than-a-military-offensive-36926

6. German state’s war crimes in Kurdistan

14 August 2019|ANF

German-made poison gases and chemical weapons have been used in wars in Kurdistan throughout the last century, not just in the Dersim massacre in 1938. The involvement was proven time and time again, but the German state always remained silent.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/german-state-s-war-crimes-in-kurdistan-36900

7. “South Kurdistan parties must not fall into Turkey’s trap”

11 August 2019|ANF

In addition to military attacks, one of the central strategies of the Turkish state is to foment conflicts within the Kurds and to prevent Kurdish unity. HDP politician Zeyyat Ceylan warns the parties in southern Kurdistan of this trap.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/south-kurdistan-parties-must-not-fall-into-turkey-s-trap-36853

8. Turkey accused of extensive links to former Isis fighters

8 August 2019|Morning Star

An explosive new report has revealed extensive links between senior members of the Isis death cult and Nato member Turkey, including claims that intelligence services helped jihadists cross into Syria to commit alleged war crimes against Kurds. The database, published today by the Rojava Information Centre (RIC), draws on information gathered from jihadist Telegram messaging groups and local intelligence sources provided by the foreign ministry of North Eastern Syria.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/turkey-accused-of-extensive-links-to-former-isis-fighters

 OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS

1.  Karayılan: We base on Öcalan’s orders and instructions

17 August 2019|ANF

“Our people should rest assured that the guerrilla will defeat AKP’s intelligence and technology and will win,” said Murat Karayılan of the PKK. Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Executive Committee Member and People’s Defense Central Headquarters (HSM) Commander Murat Karayılan spoke to Stêrk TV about Abdullah Öcalan’s recent remarks and the situation in the guerrilla war. Highlights from the interview with the top guerrilla commander are as follows.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/pkk-s-karayilan-we-base-on-Oecalan-s-orders-and-instructions-36962

2. Syrian Kurdish commander sets conditions for safe zone talks with Turkey

15  August 2019|Al Monitor

The Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces stated in an interview that a proposed safe zone between Turkey and Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria must cover the full length of the border between them. A senior SDF official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the topic told Al-Monitor, “The reason the agreement needs to encompass the whole border is because otherwise Turkey will continue to threaten unilateral action against the territories that fall outside it”.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/08/syrian-kurdish-commander-conditions-us-turkey-safe-zone.html#ixzz5wsiSvNet

3. A Syria Safe Zone Will Create More Problems Than It Solves

12 August 2019|The National Interest

After months of stalemate, Turkey and the United States have agreed to establish a joint operations center to coordinate efforts to carve out a safe zone stretching more than 250 miles along Syria’s northeastern border with Turkey. Down the road, however, disagreements will flare up. For any deal in northeastern Syria to work, it has to provide a sustainable solution to U.S. and Turkish security interests and address Kurdish concerns. The current agreement fails on all counts.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/syria-safe-zone-will-create-more-problems-it-solves-72961

4. Salih Muslim: The path to solution passes through Imralı

11 August 2019|ANF

PYD politician Salih Muslim commented on the latest statements by PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan and called for the Turkish state to address the proposed solutions of the Kurdish thought leader. Muslim considers the visits by the Kurdish leader’s lawyers on Imrali Prison Island to be very important and positive, stating that; “The Kurdish people are demanding that Öcalan’s views are paid attention to”.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/features/salih-muslim-the-path-to-solution-passes-through-imrali-36841

5. Behind the Lines: Shane Bauer Travels to Syria to Uncover America’s Role in the Syrian War

8 August 2019|Democracy Now

In May of 2018, award-winning reporter Shane Bauer set out to Syria to find answers. The result is his groundbreaking, 30,000-word investigation published in the June issue of Mother Jones, where Bauer is a senior reporter. He recently visited our New York studio to discuss his work.

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/8/8/behind_the_lines_shane_bauer_travels?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=2ab76601fa-Daily_Digest_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-2ab76601fa-190239665

6. Remembering the Treaty of Lausanne

6 August 2019|Washington Kurdish Institute

With their ancestral homeland split between four modern states – Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey – the Kurdish people have been subject to a century of subjugation and suffering due to treaties signed by the old colonial powers. These treaties transferred power to a new set of oppressors, a group of colonizers with their own history in the region.

https://dckurd.org/2019/08/06/remembering-the-treaty-of-lausanne/

7. Öcalan’s Strategic Success on Imralı

5 August 2019|ANF

On May 2, 2019, Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers had contact with their client for the first time since almost eight years. Mahmut Şakar talked to Civaka Azad about his experience of being the attorney for the Kurdish People’s Leader.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/features/Oecalan-s-strategic-success-on-imrali-36721

8. Rojava Revolution – seven years on

1 August 2019|Green Left

July 19 marked the seventh anniversary of northern Syria’s Rojava Revolution. On that day in 2012 the nascent People’s Protection Units (YPG) took control of the Kurdish-majority city of Kobanê. The outnumbered forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad surrendered and were allowed to depart (without their weapons). Other Kurdish cities and towns in the north were soon liberated as well.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/seventh-anniversary-rojava-revolution

9. Can Syrian Kurds’ offer unlock door to compromise with Turkey?

31 July 2019|Al Monitor

The Syrian Kurds have offered Turkey a 5-kilometer-deep buffer zone that would see the pullut of Kurdish forces and heavy weaponry, without seeking the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Afrin, but only that of aligned militia.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/turkey-syria-united-states-kurds-have-offer-for-safe-zone.html#ixzz5vlEGwarI

 

10. Turkey’s Kurdish problem—predicting Ankara’s next steps

31 Jul 2019|Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Since the renewal of hostilities between the Turkish government and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) forces in mid-2015, following a two-year ceasefire, the conflict has claimed around 4,500 lives, adding to approximately 40,000 casualties since the 1980s. Although the PKK bears responsibility for breaking the ceasefire, Turkey has since pursued an escalating campaign of offensive military operations against Kurdish groups in Turkey and neighbouring Iraq and Syria. Ankara has also re-instituted oppressive security controls targeting Kurds and renewed repression of Kurdish language, culture and identity.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/turkeys-kurdish-problem-predicting-ankaras-next-steps/

11. Various Players Maneuver For An Uncertain Future In Syria

31 July 2019|Lobe Log

Washington continues to support, at least on paper, the problematic Geneva talks of 2012 aimed at bringing about a political solution between the regime and the opposition, but this failed process has been overtaken by the Astana talks (supported by Russia, Iran, and Turkey) that are focused on changes to the Syrian constitution, which would presumably pave the way for a political settlement. Without a more active US diplomatic role, it is hard to see how Washington will be a major player in Syria’s future—though non-involvement may well be Trump’s true intention.

https://lobelog.com/various-players-maneuver-for-an-uncertain-future-in-syria/

12. Might US-Turkish relations become like Israeli-Turkish ones?

31 July 2019|Rudaw

Addressing senior Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials in Ankara on Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated “Whoever is on the side of Israel, let everyone know that we are against them.” The United States most definitely appears to be on the side of Israel, so does this mean that Turkey stands against America? The government’s anti-Americanism reflects public opinion in Turkey, which was not very favorable to the U.S. even before the AKP came to power. Turkish nationalist opposition parties, including the new IYI (Good) Party, appear no different on this matter. Turkish leftist parties likewise have no love for America or Israel.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/analysis/30072019

13. Turkish journalists facing unprecedented surge of physical assaults

25 July 2019|Index on Censorship

Turkey’s freedom of the press was curbed after the attempted military coup in July 2016, when over 150 media outlets were shut down. Many journalists working in Kurdish territory were subject to physical violence and threats, and Rohat Aktaş, a journalist who covered the Kurdish-Turkish conflict in the town of Cizre, was killed. While physical attacks on media workers have become rare in recent years, eight assaults have been documented in May and June 2019. This surge has raised concerns about the continuing pressure on media professionals in the country.

https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2019/07/turkey-physical-violence-report/

14. Sarah Glynn: Hope Vs fascism in Syria and Iraq

24 July 2019|Commonspace

Last Friday [19 July] was the seventh anniversary of the Rojava revolution, when the Kurds established autonomous control in northern Syria. For almost the entire time that they have been building an alternative society, based on a feminist, multicultural, grassroots democracy, they have also had to fight for survival against external attacks. Now, again, their Democratic Federation of North East Syria faces existential danger.

https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/14523/sarah-glynn-hope-vs-fascism-syria-and-iraq

STATEMENTS

1.Peace in Kurdistan: Celebrating 15 August 1984

15 August 2019|Peace in Kurdistan

For Kurdish people the 15 August is celebrated as the Day of Resurgence and Resistance. On 15 August 1984, Liberation Units of Kurdistan, led by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with its guerrilla commander Mahsum Korkmaz, launched the armed struggle for freedom.  This was six years after the founding of the PKK.

https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2019/08/19/9991/

 2. Statement from Abdullah Öcalan

9 August 2019|International Inititative

On 7 August 2019, lawyers from Asrın Law Office traveled to İmralı Island Prison to meet with their client Abdullah Öcalan. Following this consulation, Asrın Law Office released a statement detailing the discussion they had with Öcalan.

http://www.freeocalan.org/news/english/ocalan-statement-august-2019

3. A forest for internationalist martyrs of the Rojava Revolution

8 August 2019|ANF

“With this forest we want to create a living monument that will flourish and take root like the ideals of the martyrs of the Rojava revolution.”

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/a-forest-for-internationalist-martyrs-of-the-rojava-revolution-36785

4. Letter to UK Foreign Secretary on Hasankeyf and the Ilisu Dam

8 August 2019|ANF

“Dozens of associations, groups, academics, journalists from the UK wrote to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP to express their concer about the future of Hasankeyf. The 12,000-years site is going to be flooded when the Ilisu Dam will become operational.

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign is among the promoters of the initiative.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/letter-to-foreign-secretary-the-ilisu-dam-a-critical-juncture-36801

5. Trade unionists’ letter to the Home Secretary: Don’t Criminalise International Solidarity – Border Security Act 2019

26 July 2019|Freedom for Ocalan

In a joint letter to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, senior trade union officials oppose any Home Office decision to make Kurdish-run North-East Syria a “designated area” under the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019. Under such a designation, anyone visiting the region could face up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine or both. They urge the Homes Secretary “Don’t criminalise international solidarity.”

https://freedomforocalan.org/border-security-act-2019/

ACTIONS, CAMPAIGNS

1. Weʼre raising £1,000 to UK Freedom for Ocalan Trade Union Campaign

17 August 2019|Freedom for Ocalan

As part of this the campaign team is running 10km on 21st of September 2019 to raise funds to support the UK based Freedom for Öcalan Campaign – ‘The Time has Come!”

Please give generously! Please share widely!

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/freedom-for-ocalan-10k-september?utm_id=60&utm_term=K4x3KMGPg

BOOKS

1. Sakine Cansiz

Thursday, 29 August 2019 19:00|Pluto Press|

The Mosaic Rooms, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, London, SW5 0SW

The Mosaic Rooms and Pluto Press are delighted to host the launch for Sara: Prison Memoir of a Kurdish Revolutionary the second instalment in the gripping memoir by Sakine Cansiz, which chronicles the Kurdish revolutionary’s harrowing years in a Turkish prison, following her arrest in 1979 at the age of 21.

https://www.plutobooks.com/events/sakine-cansiz/

2. The Kurds of Northern Syria: Governance, Diversity and Conflicts

11 July 2019|Bloomsbury

Based on unprecedented access to Kurdish-governed areas of Syria, including exclusive interviews with administration officials and civilian surveys, this book – by Harriet Allsopp and Wladimir van Wilgenburg – sheds light on the socio-political landscape of this minority group and the various political factions vying to speak for them.

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-kurds-of-northern-syria-9781838604455/

3. (UPCOMING) Building Free Life: Dialogues with Abdullah Öcalan will be published in English in September 2019

September 2019| International Initiative

Book Published about the Thought of Abdullah Öcalan

A new book entitled Building Free Life: Dialogues with Abdullah Öcalan will be published in English in September 2019 by PM Press. The book features a collection of essays from thinkers, activists, and academics from around the world discussing the thought of Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish freedom movement.

http://www.freeocalan.org/news/english/book-published-about-the-thought-of-abdullah-ocalan

CULTURE, ARTS/EVENTS

1. “Don’t Criminalise Solidarity – CAMPACC Event on Vimeo

In the wake of the panic caused by British citizens travelling to northeast Syria to join ISIS, and the terrorist threat they may pose upon their return, the British government rushed through the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019. Panellists discussed the new offence of entering or remaining in a “designated area” overseas. The crime would apply to UK nationals and residents, with a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, a fine or both. The Act imposes a presumption of guilt upon defendants, who have the onus to provide a reasonable excuse for their presence.

https://vimeo.com/354511401?ref=em-share

 

 Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

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

Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director,  Jill Evans MEP, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, International Coordinator, Green Party of England and Wales; Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Gareth Peirce, Maxine Peake, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Stephen Smellie, Steve Sweeney, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.

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Leyla Guven : Letter to President of the European Parliament

28th January 2019

Mr Antonio Tajani

President of the European Parliament

Rue Wiertz 60
1047 Brussels
Belgium

Dear MrTajani,

 We are currently facing serious tremendous on the path towards democratization and normalization in Turkey, as was also made known in sessions held at the European Parliament. The most critical of these obstacles is the persistence of total isolation imposed on Mr Abdullah Öcalan held in Imrali Prison since April 5, 2015. Mr Öcalan has played a key role in the pursuit of a peaceful solution to the conflict, especially by all his efforts during the peace process that took place between 2013 and 2015. He continues to be the person best placed to continue playing this historic role.I believe that the clear positions taken byall the institutions that collectively constitute the European Unionare going to be crucial for the restarting of the process of conflict resolution. The consistent demand for this stance in turn will enable a normalization to take place in Turkey, in my firmly held view. Continue reading

Women delegation from Ireland, Britain and Italy call for the unlawful prison policy of isolation to end.

PRESS RELEASE

 For immediate release

 13 January 2019, Diyarakir, Turkey

 The health of Hakkari 55 year old MP Leyla Güven, who started a hunger strike on 8 November 2018, has reached a life-threatening stage.

Leyla Güven, who is on the 67th day of a hunger strike, has become too weak to  meet with her lawyers. Continue reading

Sixth Hearing of Demirtas Trial Takes Place in Ankara

Written by Margaret Owen (International Trial Observer and Barrister)

On Wednesday 12th December 2018, Solicitor-Advocate Ali Has, Thomas Phillips of Liverpool University, and myself arrive in Ankara to attend the sixth hearing of the case against Selahattin Demirtas, former co-chair of Turkey’s HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party). Demirtas was arrested on 4th November 2016 together with co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and seven other MPs. He has been in pre-trial detention at Edirne Prison since his arrest. Continue reading

Final Trial of Selahattin Demirtas and MP Sirri Onder At the Silivri Prison Compound Court

Selahattin-Demirtas

 

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

Friday 7 September

I was informed that Selahattin Demirtas (pictured), the imprisoned former co-chair of the pro Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), would at last be appearing in person for this final, 6th hearing. Selahattin Demirtas has been detained since November 2016 under anti-terror law. He faces various charges and is accused of making terrorist propaganda. Demirtas’ co-defendant is the HDP MP for Ankara, Siri Surreya Onder, who will also be present at the hearing.

I travelled to Istanbul to report on the trial as an International Observer from the UK. Outside the Silivri prison compound I expected to find crowds of Demirtas/HDP supporters. Upon my arrival at the prison however, it was eerily quiet, as apart from a sizeable police presence, I found only a few hundred supporters, and soon discovered that Demirtas himself would not be there in person after all; he would be delivering his defence to the terrorism charges via video link.”Look”, said one female supporter, pointing to the sky. “You see the drone. The police want to identify who is here outside the court so they can investigate us for supporting terrorism”.  It was the first time I had seen a drone, like a black insect in the peaceful blue sky.

At the entrance to the court I was joined by a few other international observers, from the Canadian, Swiss and Dutch embassies. The nature of this trial would reflect the status of Turkey’s justice system since Erdogan won the 2018 Presidential election, in which Demirtas also stood as a candidate from his prison cell. It’s a significant event.

Continue reading

Julie Ward MEP: REPORT ON GENERAL AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN TURKEY JUNE 24 2018

I arrived in Igdir in Eastern Turkey, close to the border with Armenia, at 8am on the morning of Sunday June 23rd 2018, election day. My contact, Murat, met me at the airport and we went for a quick cup of chai before heading out to village communities in the foothills of Mount Ararat with a woman who had been the co-mayor of Igdir until unelected trustees had been appointed by the state instead. I had come to Turkey as an independent election observer at the invitation of HDP, having previously been an Election Observer for the European Parliament’s Democracy Support Unit, participating in official Election Observation Missions in Kenya, Kosovo and Kyrgyzstan in 2017. Continue reading

The Continual Trials of Selahattin Demirtas

By 

Demirtas

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

Sunday 15 April

My last blog on 13th February reported that the case of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of Turky’s HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), had been adjourned until 11th April. With his parliamentary immunity removed, Demirtas faces many separate indictments and trials under Turkey’s Anti Terror Laws. In February, before a court in Akara he had eloquently conducted his own defence, (see previous blogs) but as his request for bail was refused, he remained in custody at Evirne prison.

Continue reading

Background on the Trial of Selahattin Demirtas

By 

Demirtas

 Monday 12th February 2018

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

On 4th November 2016, the Co-Chair of Turkey’s pro Kurdish political party, the HDP (the Peoples’ Democratic Party), Selahattin Demirtas (pictured) was arrested and kept in pre-trial detention at Edirne prison under the country’s anti-terror law. On Wednesday 14th February 2018, in Ankara Demirtas will appear before a court as part of his ongoing trial. I am a member of a delegation from the UK that hopes to observe proceedings as they unfold.

Continue reading

The Trial of Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtas

By 

IMG_1939

Blog post from International Trial Observer and Barrister Margaret Owen (pictured)

Wednesday, December 6

Ms Figen Yüksekdağ is charged, under the Anti Terror Law, with inciting violence, making propaganda for a terrorist organisation ( PKK)  and establishing and managing a terrorist organisation. These accusations were made on the basis of speeches she had made, as an elected MP, both inside and outside parliament between 2011 and 2015. Figen, as an elected member of parliament, and co chair of a legal political party, was simply doing her job. It was absurd to allege that her speeches were promoting terrorism. There is no evidence that she organised or is a member of a terror group.

Continue reading

Joint Statement on behalf of the International Observers Delegation to the trial of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

6th – 7th December 2017

 We the undersigned make this declaration to serve as a joint statement on behalf of all members of the international observes delegation that have arrived here in Ankara to observe and objectively report on the trial of the two HDP (Peoples Democratic Party’s) Co-Chair’s Sellahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.

 Mrs. Yuksekdag and Mr. Demirtas were arrested and detained in prison since last November, 2016. Numerous charges have been brought against them relating to alleged “terrorism” activities. The particulars and evidence of the charges they face however emanate from their parliamentary activities and the responsibility they must uphold on behalf of the millions of voters that have elected them as their parliamentary representatives. These include; their speeches in Parliament, speeches at political rally’s, party meetings, press statements and general and legitimate opposition party activities. Continue reading