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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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