“5 minutes to election: What happened during 20 days of PKK inaction in Turkey?”

The Kurdistan Communities of Women (KJK) has published a new information file called 5 minutes to election: What happened during 20 days of PKK inaction in Turkey? which provides a useful summary of events in Kurdistan since the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire on 10 October. The report details an alarming number of state-sponsored attacks on the AKP’s political opposition, including curfews in Kurdish districts, raids on HDP offices and military strikes against the PKK.

The report begins with this statement below and is available to download in full here (pdf).

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CAMPACC reports on the first of their innovative workshops series on self-determination

CAMPACC has initiated a research and outreach project which aims to critically examine the contradictions between national struggles for self-determination and the global ‘counter -terror’ regime, which has begun with a series of workshops focusing on key case studies – the Kurdish question; the Tamil struggle and the Somali struggle. Below is the report from their first workshop, which includes videos of each of the presentations.

On the 21st February 2015 CAMPACC, in association with SOAS Kurdish Society, hosted the first workshop in a series on Self-determination against the global ‘counter-terror’ regime. This was on the Kurdish liberation struggle. Continue reading

Write to your MP! ‘Action on the threat from ISIS’

Whether Parliament is recalled over the crisis in Iraq or not, nonetheless MPs will soon be returning to Westminster and without a doubt the issue will be among the top priorities of upcoming sessions.

This is why it is critical that our MPs – the people elected to represent you and your views – are not only informed properly about what is going on, but are also pushed to pressure the government and put our issues on the agenda. The media has followed events in Iraq closely. However, information about the greater impact of ISIS in Syria and the Middle East, the years of violence perpetrated by them against Rojava, the leading role of the YPG and PKK in the front against ISIS, the humanitarian efforts of Syrian Kurdish people and indeed, the existence of Rojava entirely, have been limited if not ignored completely in high-level discussions of how Britain should act in response to the crisis. Continue reading

Public Meeting: UK launch of the paper by Adem Uzun and published by Berghof Foundation

 

PUBLIC MEETING

“Living Freedom”: The Evolution of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey and the Efforts to Resolve It

 

Friday 20 June, 2014, 6.30pm

Venue: Room B102, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh St, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

 

Luxshi Vimalarajah, Programme Director of Dialogue, Mediation and Peace Support Structures at the Berghof Foundation
Adem Uzun, Executive Member of Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) on video
Selma Benkhelifa, Lawyer, Progress Lawyers Network, Belgium
Jean Lambert MEP
Desmond Fernandes,
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign & CAMPACC

Chaired by Margaret Owen OBE, International Human Rights Lawyer & Patron of Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

 

Political violence is a tool of both state and non-state actors, and replacing it by political methods of conflict management is essential to making sustainable peace. Adem Uzun’s case study about the Kurdish conflict is part of a series produced by the Berghof Foundation to bring to wider attention and appreciation those important voices – including those deliberately silenced as ‘’terrorists’’ – which are usually excluded or devalued in the analysis of conflict.

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PYD Europe: “The Kurdish initiative towards democratic change on the basis of unity and diversity”

PYD RELATIONS

23 May 2014

 

The Kurdish initiative towards democratic change on the basis of unity and diversity

The Syrian crisis deepened amid blind violence exceeding all limits, in a way pushing the country towards the unknown in the absence of any objective and serious solutions. It is essentially beyond being just a crisis of the regime or the rule or authority, and has moved towards being a comprehensive structural crisis that stems from the unilateral nationalist approach based on the concept of the nation state, which contains within it the seeds of denial and domination and chauvinism which has ruled Syria for almost half a century.  This is inconsistent with the fundamental attributes of our era that is known as the era of the democratic peoples.

Despite the diversity and multiplicity of components of the origins of this society – Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and others – and the multiplicity of religions, sects and languages​​, since its independence the Syrian modern state brought with it the seeds of authoritarianism as a product of its nationalism and chauvinism that prevented the democratic transformation, and  the reduced the number of recognised ethnic identities and political affiliations as per. the identity of the authoritarian rulers, and the problem of the real recognition of citizens’ identity emerged. That was followed by periods of darkness of denial of others under the slogans of chauvinism and banners of fanatical and exclusive nationalism, which caused paralysis in the driving forces developing the Syrian society and stifled development. This reflected authoritarianism, and strangled the country in a security State that marginalized citizens and grabbed his free will to represent his true identity, which turned Syria to a big prison for forcibly melting components without any attention or respect for the fact of Syria’s authentic pluralism.

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“Living Freedom”: New report by the Berhof Foundation written by Adem Uzun

Adem Uzun, member of the Kurdistan National Congress who Peace in Kurdistan campaigned for last year after his provocative arrest in Paris in October 2012, has written this report for the Berghof Foundation’s Transitions Series. The contents of the report includes a short history of the Kurds; the PKK’s military and political struggle with the Turkish state; the international conspiracy against Öcalan; the PKK’s transformation and the new paradigm; the Oslo meetings between the Turkish State, the PKK and Ocalan; and the Imrali Process in 2013.

You can read the report in full here.

 

 

EP publishes resolution on the 2013 EU-Turkey Progress Report

The European Parliament has published a resolution in response to the European Commission’s 2013 Progress Report for Turkey’s Europe accession process.

The resolution expresses ‘concern’ about corruption scandals in the Turkish government and judiciary, the excessive use of police fore against anti-government protesters last June, and about poor levels of freedom of expression and media pluralism that do not reach ‘European standards’.

On the Kurdish conflict, the resolution supports what it calls the “government’s initiative of striving for a settlement with the PKK, with the aim of putting a definitive end to the PKK’s terrorist activities”. It “welcomes the fact that education in Kurdish is now allowed in private schools and encourages the government to put in place the necessary reforms aimed at promoting the social, cultural, and economic rights of the Kurdish community”. It goes on to briefly acknowledge there are still “several” Kurdish politicians, mayors, local councillors, unionists, lawyers and human rights defenders who have been arrested as part of the KCK trials, but does not acknowledge they are political prisoners  and makes no recommendation that they should be released.

You can download the resolution here.

Salih Muslim joins conference in Brussels

Last week (22 November 2013) a joint conference by Centre Maurits Coppieters together with the Kurdish Institute of Brussels and Belgian Senator Karl Vanlouwe took place in Brussels on the situation of Kurds and the Syrian civil war.
You can see video clips from the main conference speakers here:

 

Salih Muslim @ The Kurds and the future of Syria. 22 November 2013. Brusels from Centre Maurits Coppieters on Vimeo.

Towards Democratic Solution From Armed Conflict – The Role Played By Leaders On Peaceful Solutions: South African And Kurdish Experiences – Mandela And Ocalan

by Judge Essa Moosa, director of the International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative and chairperson for KHRAG.

A new dawn has appeared on the horizon of Turkish political landscape. For the first time in almost 100 years the Kurdish issue in Turkey are being seriously addressed. The struggle of the Kurdish people in Turkey to enforce their legitimate claim to self-determination in terms of the Sevres Treaty was met with force, execution, imprisonment, banishment, persecution and repression. Such right to self-determination was approved by the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations[1]. The South African people of colour have also struggled, for more than 100 years, for their right to self-determination and achieved their right on 10 May 1994 with the installation of a government of national unity under the presidency of Nelson Mandela.[2] There are striking similarities between the struggle of the Kurdish people in Turkey for their right to self-determination and the right to self-determination of the oppressed people in South Africa.

Both Turkey and South Africa were colonised and subjugated by various colonial powers over the ages.  Turkey was colonised by the Persians, Mongolians, British, French and the Russians.  South Africa was colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. The political and constitutional evolution of Turkey and South Africa, with the passage of time, is somewhat similar.  South Africa, as it is presently constituted, was formed in 1910 when the imperial power of Britain granted to the white population of the country a measure of self-rule on the basis of white supremacy.[3] In 1921 Turkey promulgated its first Constitution in line with the provisions of the Sevres Treaty, following the demise of the Ottoman Empire.  In 1924, Turkey adopted a Republican Constitution on the basis of Turkish hegemony. The Constitution violated the provisions of the Sevres Treaty which granted the Kurdish people in Turkey, a measure of autonomy where there is a preponderance of Kurdish people and independence after a year if the majority of the people in those regions wish to become independent of Turkey.[4]

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The long road to peace and reconciliation in Turkey

Report by David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

A seminar on ‘’the long road to peace and reconciliation in Turkey’’ has taken place in London with guest speaker from South Africa, Judge Essa Moosa, who was on a brief visit to the UK.

The seminar addressed the current opportunities for dialogue between the Turkish government and the Kurds within the context of the slow moving peace process which was in danger on stalling.  

The event organised by Peace in Kurdistan in association with SOAS Kurdish Society, was held at SOAS on the afternoon of 16 November and attended by students, academics and people from wide spectrum of organisations who take an interest in Kurdish issues.

Judge Moosa, a distinguished law maker and a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, was introduced by Birgul Yilmaz, Teaching Fellow at SOAS, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, who chaired the event. He was joined on the panel by Akif Wan, Kurdistan National Congress, UK Representative.

In his address Judge Moosa, who heads the International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative, IPRI, argued that the historic developments in South Africa were a benchmark to understand how the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds might be resolved. (see article entitled “Democratic Solution to the Armed Conflict”)

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