German authorities review the ban on the PKK/trial test and talks with Ankara

 

Berlin – MESOP – 2.6.2013 – In secret negotiations with Turkey, German security authorities are reviewing the ban on the activity of the left-extremist PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), imposed in 1993.

Members of the Interior Ministry of the German Bundestag like Franz Josef Jung (CDU) and Dieter Wiefelspütz (SPD) have pointed to consultations, which suggest that the VS had originally expressed vehement opposition against the PKK ban. They are now “testing” the Turkish reaction. The latter being negative for sure, but possibly only towards outside – as the legalisation of the PKK in the foreseeable future would allow the Erdogan government to lead more relaxed talks and negotiations with the PKK.

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President of the Law Society writes to Erdogan

The President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, has written an open letter to PM Erdogan, with her concerns about the repeated violation of human rights suffered by lawyers in Turkey over the last year.

You can download a copy of the letter here (pdf)

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Kurdish Hunger Strike in Turkey

Journalist Jake Hess has written this article for the Middle East Research and Information Project on the on going hunger strikes and their political context:

To hear Mazlum Tekdağ’s story is enough to understand why 700 Kurdish political prisoners have gone on hunger strike in Turkey. His father was murdered by the state in front of his Diyarbakır pastry shop in 1993, when Mazlum was just nine years old. His uncle Ali was kidnapped by an army-backed death squad known as JİTEM (the acronym for the Turkish phrase translating, roughly, as Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terror Unit) two years later. Mazlum never saw his uncle again, but a former JİTEM agent later claimed they tortured him for six months before killing him and burning his body by the side of a road in the Silvan district of Diyarbakır.

Such experiences have moved thousands of Kurds in Turkey to join the armed rebellion of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which has been outlawed since its inception. But Mazlum, along with thousands of others, chose to fight for his people’s rights through the non-violent means of pro-Kurdish political parties, a succession of which have been allowed to operate by the Turkish state before then being shut down. He was first arrested in 2001, when he was 17. Now 28, Mazlum has been in jail for three and a half years, though he has not been convicted of a crime. His trial is deadlocked because Turkish courts refuse to let him or his fellow political prisoners offer their legal defenses in their native Kurdish language. All of them speak fluent Turkish; they are making a political point. Continue reading

EUTCC reacts to Adem Uzun arrest in Paris

 

19 October, 2012
Press Release: For immediate release

EUTCC CALLS FOR THE RELEASE OF ADEM UZUN TO FURTHER PEACE

 

The EUTCC calls upon the French authorities for the immediate release of Adem Uzun, a leading official of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) headquartered in Brussels. His arrest is clearly a political attempt to curry favor with the Turkish authorities who had just complained that France and Germany were not supporting Turkey’s campaign against the PKK and its so-called terrorism in Europe. Far from being a terrorist, Adem Uzun was arrested in Paris where he was preparing to attend a peaceful conference on the Kurdish situation in Syria. Continue reading

UNITE passes motion to support union members in Turkey

We are happy to receive news that the following motion was passed at the UNITE policy conference held in Brighton in June. We’d like to thank Alain Herztmann at the London North West Branch 9708 of Unite for proposing the motion and for his and his branches long term support and friendship with the Kurds.

MOTION

WORKERS IN TURKEY

This Conference commits itself to support workers in Turkey and their trade unions. It also supports the right of the Kurdish people in Turkey to self determination.

The AKP is the dominant party in Turkey and is has governed Turkey for several years. It is presenting itself as a moderate Islamic party. It projects itself as a moderate, modernising, democratic party, successful in developing the national economy on the basis of a neo-liberal economic agenda. De facto it has done so by a severe, ruthless exploitation of working people, implementing laws on:

“Flexible” work (outsourcing and off shoring)

“Flexible” wages (poverty wages even under the minimum wage level) Continue reading

EUROPEAN LAWYERS: Protest against ongoing arrests in Turkey

The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights (ELDH) has published this statement condemning the recent mass arrests in Turkey of human rights advocates, trade unionists, lawyers, and journalists, and demanding the release of all political prisoners, including Abdullah Ocalan. If you want to keep it on file, we have made it available for download (pdf).

Düsseldorf – London, 30 June 2012

ELDH is gravely concerned about the ongoing wave of arrests in Turkey.

Some 8.000 politicians, trade-unionists, journalists, artists, students, human rights activists as well as their lawyers have been the victims of mass arrests in Turkey since 2009. Most of them have been arrested as part of the KCK operation mounted by the Turkish Government. The KCK or Union of Communities in Kurdistan is a Kurdish organization, founded by Abdullah Öcalan, which is suspected by the Turkish Government of collaboration with the PKK. The arrests took place on the basis of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law of 1991.

In a response to the concerned request of the European Commission, the Turkish government acknowledged in October 2011 only the continued detention of 605 persons. Many others are facing long prison sentences. Although the European Union has expressed its concern, the wave of arrests is still going on. Continue reading

Zarakolu: “ATL is a law that censors”

Ragip Zarakolu, well-known author and publisher who is facing 7.5-15 years in prison after being arrested last year in the scope of the KCK operations, makes a passionate argument against Turkish Anti-Terrror Law below on the first day of his trial:

PRESS CONFERENCE INVITATION: Freedom of Thought, Expression and Publication under serious threat.

Monday 2nd July 2012 at 16.00, TGC Headquarters Cağaloğlu

ARGUMENT

In its annual report seven years ago, the Writers Union of Turkey Freedom to Publish Committee made the following prediction:

“The newly proposed Anti Terror Law (ATL) contains very grave provisions that may put the freedom of thought, expression and the press, as well as the freedom to publish under threat”. Continue reading

PUBLIC EVENT: Turkey, the Kurdish Struggle and the New Middle East

PUBLIC MEETING AT MARXISM 2012, 5-9 JULY 2012

Turkey, the Kurdish Struggle and the New Middle East

Saturday, 7 July, 5.15-6.45pm
Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre
University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT* How to find us.

Speakers: Akif Wan, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK
Dr Felix Padel
,  Social Anthropologist, Author and Political Activist

Chaired by: David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Discussion organised by Peace in Kurdistan: campaign for a political solution to the Kurdish Question

The historic struggle of the Kurds in Turkey has reached a new intensity at a time when popular uprisings in the Middle East are overturning anti-democratic regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, in a social ferment that has left no state untouched. Continue reading

EUTCC appeals to Turkish government to release detained mayors

The EU turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) has made a public statement in response to recent arrests of mayors and other municipal officials last week:

13 June, 2012
Press Release: For immediate release

EUTCC APPEAL

 

The unfortunate KCK arrests and trials which unlawfully and politically target the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) continue. As many as 6 BDP Members of Parliaments, 32 mayors, hundreds of chairs and members of city councils and municipal councils, in addition to the staff of municipalities and more than 7000 members of the BDP party have been detained. These operations aim to immobilise and destroy the BDP which has established a new democratic, participatory, ecological and anti-sexist local governance model instead of the traditional classical local governance methods. Continue reading