Seminar Notice: The long road to peace and reconciliation in Turkey

SOAS Kurdish Society in association with Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

The long road to peace and reconciliation in Turkey: Opportunities for genuine dialogue between Ankara and the Kurds  

Seminar on Saturday, 16 November 4-6pm

SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG, Room L67, Main Building

Speakers: Judge Essa Moosa, International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative, South Africa

Akif Wan, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK Representative

Chair: Birgul Yilmaz, PhD Candidate in Linguistics & Teaching Fellow, SOAS, Faculty of Languages and Cultures

The key speaker at this seminar will be Judge Essa Moosa, a distinguished human rights advocate from South Africa, who is making a brief visit to London and will bring his considerable experience of involvement in the successful anti-apartheid struggle to contribute towards a peaceful democratic resolution of the Kurdish question, in this case in Turkey. Mr Moosa will discuss his work with the new International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative, established a year ago in response to a call from Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the Turkish government to begin negotiations with the Kurdish movement.

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IHD releases report into Turkey-Rojava broder crossings

IHD logo
The Human Rights Association (IHD) has published a report based on its recent investigations at the Turkey-Rojava border. The IHD formed a human rights committee to examine whether the border gates and crossings are open to humanitarian aid and the condition of refugee camps, through interviews with locals, political party officers, mayors, non-governmental organization representatives.

The report is available to download here (pdf)

Conference to be held in Washington next week: The Kurdish Role in the New Middle East

 

Organized by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Representative Office in the USA

Date: Monday, 28 October 2013, 09:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.
Place: The National Press Club, Holeman Lounge
529 14th St NW Washington, D.C., 20045

The Kurds have emerged as crucial regional actors out of the rapid political transformations that have been sweeping the Middle East over the last decade. This trend has accelerated with the Arab Spring. The “Kurdish problems” that have been compartmentalized across the four nation-states in the Middle East are now more interconnected and more globalized. This has been pressuring Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran as well as global powers to revise their conventional Kurdish policies. The Kurds have been viewed as an element of regional instability throughout the twentieth century. Recent political developments, however, strongly suggest that while the provision of justice for Kurds is essential for the restoration and maintenance of order in the Middle East, the Kurds themselves command valuable political, economic, social and human resources to contribute to the advancement of peace and stability for the states and peoples of the region in the twenty first century.

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Statement by the Executive Council of the KCK

The Executive Council of the KCK has released a detailed declaration, published on 9 October, which expresses their view of the Kurdish liberation movement, present developments and how they envision the conflict can be resolved. They list three main demands:

1. The constitutional and legal safeguarding of the Kurds’ existence, identity and culture, and recognition of the Kurdish identity and freedom of expression and association.
2. Acceptance of the Kurds’ existence as a society and their own administration, that is, acceptance of democratic autonomy.
3. The acceptance of mother tongue education at every level on account of their being a people subjected to cultural genocide.

The statement is also available for download (doc)

 

Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union (KCK)

TO OUR PEOPLES AND DEMOCRATIC PUBLIC OPINION!

9 October 2013

 

The Kurdish question emerged as a result of the Turkish state’s policy of Turkification through its denial of the Kurds’ existence and subjecting them to cultural genocide. All the Kurds’ objections to this policy have been violently crushed. Once the Kurds had been silenced and reduced to a state where they could not protest, the cultural genocide was accelerated using economic, social and cultural policies. By the 1970s the Kurds had been left with no option but to become Turkish in order to perpetuate their lives. A political, social, economic, cultural and psychological environment had been created that drove Kurds away from Kurdishness, putting it on the path to extinction.

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BDP MP for Hakkari Adil Zozani: ‘We are determined to take this journey for peace’

INTERVIEW

1 October 2013

 

Mr Adil Zozani, Member of Parliament for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), was recently in the UK to attend the Labour Party Conference and address a public meeting with members of London’s Kurdish community. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign spoke with him about the conference, the BDP’s role in current peace negotiations for the resolution of the Kurdish Question, and about Turkey’s questionable role in developments in Rojava, northern Syria.

How has your message been received so far in the UK, and in particular, at the Labour Party Conference, where you spoke at a meeting that was attended by the Turkish Ambassador to the UK?

The Labour Party Conference was very interesting, and it was clear they are very excited about the possibility being in leadership again.  I met many people who were in solidarity with the Kurdish movement and found that the Kurdish question was well known amongst them.

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Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples

Held at the European Parliament, 23 September 2013. The final outcomes of the conference, set out in a declaration, are published below.

PRESS RELEASE

European Parliament
Brussels, Belgium
September 23, 2013

BRUSSELS, Belgium—Over a hundred representatives from various countries, civil society groups and grassroots organizations gathered at the European Parliament to hold the Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples last September 23, 2013. Organized by the offices of Members of the European Parliament Jürgen Klute and Iñaki Irazabalbeitia, IBON International and KONKURD (Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe), the conference aims to reaffirm the fundamental principles enshrined in the various UN declarations on the collective rights of peoples to self-determination and liberation.

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Challenging the Oppression of Lawyers in Times of Conflict


Queen’s University Belfast Human Rights Centre, School of Law, will host a one day conference in November called Challenging the Oppression of Lawyers in Times of Conflict, which will tackle questions about the causes of oppression of lawyers in conflict and post-conflict scenarios, and what protections can be provided. Lawyers-in-Conflict-Poster3

Aims of the conference:

“In times of conflict it is common for severe oppression to infiltrate every aspect of life as a result of both State and non-State actors’ actions. Those in a position to challenge the oppressors, such as lawyers, are often subjected to systematic discrimination and violence during times of conflict. Such oppression deprives lawyers of their fundamental rights.

The aim of this one day conference is to bring together academics, activists, grass-roots expert, legal professionals and students to learn from each other and ignite debate on the issues that lawyers face during time of conflict, the impact of these issues from a human rights perspective and potential ways to address these issues. It seeks to engage a holistic approach that draws from conflict experiences across the globe which at are at various stages in their progression towards peace. As such this conference will bring together experts who have experience in countries which have seen lawyers become specific targets of oppression. Primarily the Basque country, China, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Russia, Turkey and South Africa.

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Northern Kurdistan Conference: Öcalan’s freedom a must for a solution


This article was originally published in Firat News.

Northern Kurdistan Conference: Öcalan’s freedom a must for a solution
ANF – AMED 17.06.2013 15:48:07

The two day “Northern Kurdistan Conference for Solution and Unity” in the main Kurdish city Amed has ended on Sunday. The conference was organized as a part of the four conferences Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan suggested should take place in the ongoing process in search of a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question.

The final declaration of the conference called on the government to take more sincere steps for the solution of the Kurdish question and demanded Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan’s freedom to ensure a healthy progress in the solution process.

Reading the Turkish side of the final declaration, which was released in Kurdish as well, DTK (Democratic Society Congress) co-chair Aysel Tuğluk underlined that “the conference which was attended by Kurdistani identities has been a significant step serving for a free future for Kurdistan”.

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Karayılan: Dialogue is important but there also needs to be a policy for resolution

Edited version, 9.01.12
London

KCK Executive Council President Murat Karayılan talked to ANF reporters Deniz Kendal and Rosida Mardin about the recent meeting with the leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Öcalan, on Imrali Island.  Stressing the importance of monitoring the initiative carefully, he said, “the initiative launched for dialogue is both an important and an accurate approach.”

Karayılan said that meetings have been taking place with Öcalan since November, and he continued, “of course the visit of Ahmet Turk and Ayla Akat to Imrali showed the significance of these meetings.” This is a new dimension and we are aware of its importance. However, we will find out in the coming days whether these meetings and the renewed dialogue will turn into a process that leads to a resolution of the Kurdish issue or not. The present period may be described as a consultative one, but we need more data to assess the process. The attitude of the AKP government is especially important in this regard. In terms of whether the process of dialogue will be turned into resolution process or not, the government’s attitude will be absolutely decisive.

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International Peace Initiative to be launched in Brussels

INTERNATIONAL PEACE INITIATIVE  (IPI)

PRESS CONFERENCE

Monday 3rd December , 10h30,  International Press Centre, Maelbeek Room

Résidence Palace, Rue de la Loi n.155, 1040 Brussels  (B)

Launch of the International Peace Initiative and call from  Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for the Resumption of Dialogue on the Kurdish question in  Turkey
The  Secretariat of the IPI invites you attend a press  conference to launch The International  Peace Initiative on Monday  3rd December 2012 @10h30 at the Residence Palace in  Brussels.

This  initiative is launched with the support of Archbishop  Emeritus Desmond Tutu. To mark the occasion, he and a list of eminent  signatories including Nobel Peace Prize recipients and former heads of state  and of government from the United States, Europe and Asia, including East  Timor and Tibet, have issued a joint call for a Resumption of Dialogue  between Turkey and the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, for a  lasting and peaceful settlement of the Kurdish issue in Turkey. This statement  will be read out and distributed at the press  conference. Continue reading