Open letter: Stop the Slaughter in Kurdistan, Break the Silence

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

OPEN LETTER

Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH.

Stop the Slaughter in Kurdistan, Break the Silence

The slaughter of the innocents continues unabated inside Kurdistan, southeast Turkey, while the world remains silent and turns a collective blind eye. This silence must be broken.

The death toll of women, children, youths, and people of all ages is mounting, all victims of the increasingly dictatorial and unstable President Erdogan’s ruthless determination to “annihilate” every last vestige of self-respect and resistance among the Kurdish population. He requires total submission to his autocratic rule and demands full obedience from all citizens. This is not the way that democracies are run or should be run.

Since the June 2015 election when the AKP lost its majority, Erdogan and his party have conducted their duplicitous war against the Kurds and sought to portray the PKK and ISIS as equivalent threats to civilisation.

Unforgivably, because they must know better, Turkey’s main allies in Brussels, Washington and London have accepted the erroneous arguments coming from Ankara and stepped aside while the killing has gone on with seemingly no restraint.

Meantime, the curfews and sieges of Kurdish towns and cities have gone on for months, turning homes into rubble and leaving streets running with blood. Even people picking up and burying their dead have been attacked by Turkish military operations.

This war on its own citizens that Turkey is carrying out has inflicted appalling suffering on Kurdish communities who have committed no offence whatsoever, apart from being Kurds and seeking to live in a free society where they can run their own affairs.

The leaders of pro-Kurdish HDP have been criminalised simply for seeking to mediate and achieve a ceasefire. Critics of Turkish policy in the country’s media have been threatened physically as well as criminalised and threatened with prosecution. Some journalists are facing possible life imprisonment accused of crimes against the state merely for doing their job and exposing abuses by those in power. Normal democratic rights are being suspended and curtailed as the country becomes more intolerant of legitimate dissent.

The peace process with the Kurds, which only a year ago offered some hope of achieving a lasting solution to the Kurdish question, has been disowned by the government with Turkish leaders now claiming there was no such “peace process”. Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed PKK leader, has been silenced and is unable to offer any words of advice to his Kurdish followers who remain steadfast in looking to him for leadership.

While Erdogan’s pursuit of a victory against the Kurds must remain elusive and is ultimately doomed to fail, the conflict and bloodshed threatens to further destabilise the region which is already in chaos. The Kurds in Syria have proven to be one of the most formidable foes fighting ISIS on the ground. The AKP, which adopted what is at best an ambiguous stance towards ISIS, seems intent on punishing the Kurds in its own country in part for the successes of their compatriots in Rojava, Syria. This highly dangerous course of events must be reversed.

Turkey’s allies must press for an immediate halt to Turkey’s operations in the southeast. At the very least, the UK government must call on Turkey to implement a ceasefire as part of a full cessation of its war waged against its own people.

Prosecutions against Kurdish politicians of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) must be dropped.

It must be made absolutely clear to President Erdogan that the deployment of the army with tanks and heavy artillery against unarmed civilians is totally unjustified and unacceptable in any democracy. In response to such merciless attacks, Kurdish youth are defending their rights by organising in self-defence of their beleaguered communities.

The solitary confinement of Mr. Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdish people, must be terminated, in order for him to effectively take part in the negotiation process.  Ocalan’s freedom remains vital to end the military conflict and for the democratisation of Turkey and the resolution of the Kurdish question.

The urgent and immediate aim must be to stop the killing, then restart a peace process and open up dialogue with the Kurds and their political representatives including their leader Abdullah Ocalan who have long repudiated any attempt to separate from Turkey.

Signed by
Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Melanie Gingell, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, lecturer of Political Sociology, Cambridge University
Dr Derek Wall, writer and International Co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales
Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer
Mary Davis, Professor of Labour History
Bruce Kent, Vice-President Pax Christi
Mark Thomas, political satirist, author and journalist
Jeremy Hardy, actor, writer and activist
Nick HIldyard, Policy adviser
Joe Ryan, Chair of Westminster Diocese Justice and Peace Commission
Prof Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London
Liz Davies, LD Vice-President Haldane Society
Louise Christian, Vice-President Haldane Society
Trevor Rawnsley, Lecturer City and Islington College
John Hunt, journalist
David Morgan, journalist
Bronwen Jones, barrister, London
Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor UNISON, Scotland
Jonathan Bloch, author and businessman
Sarah Parker, Haringey Left Unity
Saleh Mamon, author and political activist
Sean Hawkey,  journalist
Russell Fraser, barrister
Matt Foot, solicitor
Alastair Lyon, solicitor

Copy to
Rt Hon David Lidington MP
Minister of State for Europe


Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk <mailto:estella24@tiscali.co.uk>
www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, , Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall, Melanie Gingell



Advertisements