Kurdistan Report interviews Nilufer Koc, Co-Chair of the KNK

“Is the era of the Kurds approaching?”

nilufer-kocHere, Nilüfer Koç, Co-chair of the KNK is interviewed for the latest issue of the Kurdistan Report, a bimonthly publication produced in Germany, about the 15th General Assembly Meeting of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK). This is a translation of the German original.

 

You held your general assembly meeting at a period favourable for the Kurds in the Middle East. How did this affect your meeting?

 The political and social developments of the last year once more have been reflected on our 15th General Assembly Meeting. The countless successes against the Islamic State (IS) in Rojava [kurd.: Western; Western Kurdistan/North Syria] and Başur [kurd.: Southern; Southern Kurdistan/North Iraq], Abdullah Öcalan’s three years long political struggle of negotiations with the Turkish AKP (Justice and Development Party) government, the consolidation of the democratic autonomy in Rojava and the increasing international political interest in Kurdistan were the significant common denominators of the debates. Despite their political differences the 52 speakers of various Kurdish political parties were in agreement on many issues: that it was now indeed the era of the Kurds.

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Latest election report reveals heavy military presence across Kurdish villages

A third report has been written by UK election observers who witnessed election day in several villages across Turkey’s Kurdish regions. They conclude that there was a ‘clear attempt’ by the Turkish government to discourage people from voting, as well as implicit threats – and explicit use – of violence. You can read more about all the observation work undertaken by independent volunteers from the UK here.

Report

Written by Prof. David Graeber, Cllr Aysegul Erdogan, Elif Sarican & Rebecca Coles

We arrived in Diyarbakir in the late hours of Friday 30th October. There was an uncomfortable quiet in much of the city, several streets lined up by armored vehicles.
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UK delegation to observe most important Turkey election in a generation

PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN: PRESS RELEASE

29 October 2015

Activists and academics from the UK will travel to Turkey today to observe the coming elections, set to take place this Sunday following months of shocking state violence across the mainly Kurdish southeast and political intimidation and harassment across the country.

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PiK sends open letter to Cameron: “End your silence on Erdogan’s abuse of power”

Yesterday, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign sent this letter to Prime Minister David Cameron. It was drafted in response to the Ankara bombing and the UK government’s continued support for President Erdogan, despite all evidence of his divisive and dangerous politics that has threatened the very stability of Turkey – and Syria. We call on him to urge Turkey to heed the PKK’s ceasefire and return to the peace process immediately.

In just a few days, the letter was signed by 95 of our campaign’s long-time supporters, as well as friends of the Kurdish movement from across the world. We have published the letter and signatories below in full.

Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister

21 October 2015

 

Open letter to David Cameron on UK policy towards Turkey

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UNISON sends letter of solidarity to KESK and DISK unions

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public service union UNISON, has written a letter of condolence to the organising unions of last Saturday’s peace rally, in which over 100 people died following two bomb blasts. Addressed to Ismail Hakki Tombul, general secretary of the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) , and Kani Beko, Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), the letter reads:

Monday, 12 October, 2015

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of UNISON I send our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of so many of your members’ lives at the Labour, Peace and Democracy Rally in Ankara on Saturday. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of the victims, and our hopes for a full recovery for all those injured in the attack.

UNISON condemns this brutal attack on trade unionists who were campaigning in support of peace, democracy and workers’ rights, and against the increasing violence and repression that the people of Turkey are suffering. We support the call for a full, transparent and independent investigation into the circumstances of the attack and its aftermath. Continue reading

GMB stands with Kurdish and Turkish colleagues

12 October 2015

GMB-unionGMB CALL ON TURKISH GOVERNMENT TO CEASE HOSTILITIES AGAINST KURDS TO SECURE NEGOTIATED END TO DECADES LONG CONFLICT

Turkish authorities must bring perpetrators of atrocity to justice and ensure that citizens can exercise their inalienable right to engage in peaceful protest says GMB

GMB commented on appalling bomb attack in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th where the death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded.

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said “GMB is outraged by the appalling bomb attack on fellow trade unionists and other marchers for peace in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th. The death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded and GMB wishes to express its deepest sympathy to the relatives of the deceased. Continue reading

Carol Mann: Premeditated slaughter in Ankara

Source

On October 5, President Erdogan held an election rally, not on home ground in Turkey, but Strasbourg, France. After prayers led by an imam, the president of what theoretically is the only secular state in the Middle East, launched into belligerent diatribe designed to rouse the 12 000 Turks who had come in from neighbouring countries. Complete with sound and light effects, the crowd, cordoned off with males on one side and bescarfed females on the other, egged him on to cries of “Allah u Akbar”. Had the enemy he was thundering against been ISIS, Turkish presence as a member of NATO in a fellow NATO country could have had some form of legitimacy. But here the target of his wrath was no less that one third of his own population, namely the Kurds and members of the HDP opposition party, in fact those he described in his speech as being All those who wish to separate from us‘. Then he uttered an ominous threat: we will make sure they live regret it. Continue reading

HDP: Extend your condolences to the people, not to the Turkish state

HDP-Logo

12 October 2015

CALL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY BY HDP

On October 10th, a Peace Rally that brought together many civil society organizations, revolutionary unions, and progressive and democratic parties, among them HDP, was the target of a horrendous attack. Unfortunately, at least 128 of our fellow citizens were murdered in this attack, and hundreds wounded. We are concerned that the death toll may rise, as 48 among the wounded are in critical condition. This attack will go down as one of the bloodiest in the history of our republic. Continue reading

Civaka Azad statement: Bomb blasts hit peace rally in Ankara: some 97 dead

civaka azad

Source: Civaka Azad, 10 October 2015

A peace rally outside the main train station in Ankara was hit by large bomb explosions this morning killing some 97 people. Eyewitnesses talk about hundreds of injured. Medical staff and civilians who rushed to help were allegedly attacked by the police with gas grenades.

The peace rally had been called by the trade unions DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Workers), KESK (Confederation Workers of Public Trade Unions) as well as by association such as TMMOB (Engineers and Architects Chamber of Turkey) and TTB (Doctors Chambers of Turkey). The call was also supported by the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) and several left and democratic parties and civil society organisations.   The gathering was to deliver a message of peace, democracy and solidarity in Turkey. According to the HDP MP Sirri Surreyya Onder there were three bomb explosions at the rally mainly targeting the HDP block and the Kurds at the rally. Continue reading

HDP releases information file on latest wave of attacks

The HDP has released an information file on the violence in Turkey since late July. This is an important dossier which contains detailed information on how the AKP government is attempting to break the HDP’s political power and undermine the peace process. The introduction to the file is below, and you can download the full pdf here.

PEOPLES’ DEMOCRATIC PARTY: FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMISSION

INFORMATION FILE ON VIOLENCE IN TURKEY

INTRODUCTION

After the General Elections on June 7th 2015, Peoples’ Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi or HDP) became one of the most significant political actors in Turkey. In particular, Kurds, socialists, Alawites, Non-Muslim groups, democratic conservatives, social democrats, ecologists and other historically marginalized or oppressed identities in Turkey have supported the HDP in the search for expanded collective rights in Turkey’s political and judiciary system. Continue reading