Final Resolution of 11th EUTCC Conference in European Parliament

The EUTCC conference was closed last week with a resolution again calling for all parties take the opportunity for negotiations for peace and democracy in Turkey and for several measures to support the peace process such as delisting the PKK; third party mediation; recognition of the Democratic Autonomous Self-Administration of Rojava and more logistical support for the people of Kobane who have been resisting a siege on their city since August. 

Kurdish Info has also published all the papers that were presented at the conference, as well as a videos of the discussion and a message to the conference by Abdullah Ocalan. The conference, now in its 11th year, was attended by Selahattin Demirtas and Salih Muslim, as well as several prominent academics and activists. 

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KHRAG December newsletter published

The Kurdish Human Rights Action Group, based in South Africa, has released its December newsletter and it is available to download here. The newsletter includes an article by a Cape Town activist who recently travelled to north Kurdistan on the invitation of the DTK. Judge Essa Mossa, chairperson of KHRAG and member of the International Peace and Reconcilliation Initiative (IPRI), will be speaking at this year’s EUTCC conference which is taking place this week.

KHRAG Newsletter, December 2014 (pdf)

EUTCC announces next conference, 10 – 11 December

Press Release: For immediate release

4 December, 2014

11th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EU, TURKEY MIDDLE EAST AND THE KURDS

“CHAOS AND CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: NEW REGIONAL ORDER AND THE KURDS”

To be held at the European Parliament, Brussels, 10 -11 December 2014. The full programme can be downloaded here.

Please note that all Conference’s sessions will be webstreamed in internet, these are the links which you can use to follow the Conference: 

(Wednesday 10th December 2014, 15.00-18.30)
http://eventstream.streamovations.be/european-union-turkey-middle-east-kurds-10-dec.php
(Languages available: Turkish, English, French and German)

(Thursday 11th December 2014, 09.30-13.00 and 15.00-18.30)
http://eventstream.streamovations.be/european-union-turkey-middle-east-kurds-11-dec.php
(Languages available: Turkish, English, French and German)

 

Since 2004 the EUTCC has held an annual conference in the European Parliament. One of its most important tasks is to monitor Turkish compliance with the EU accession criteria. EUTCC wishes to contribute to the progress of Turkish membership of the EU by spreading accurate, objective information both in Turkey and Europe about the progress made by Turkey, but also about any shortcomings which may still persist. Continue reading

EUTCC STATEMENT ON ISIS

5 August, 2014

Press release: for immediate release

 
The EUTCC urgently calls in the strongest voice for the United Nations, USA, EU, and all regional powers who believe in the inherent rights of human beings to be free from arbitrary executions and denials of basic human rights to immediately take all necessary steps to secure Kurdish rights from the depravations of ISIS which has recently struck at the Kurds in Sinjar (Shengal) in Northern Iraq. ISIS’ attacks have led to a mass civilian displacement of about 200,000 people, mostly from the Yezidi community. The yezidis will create a huge new refugee problem and call for immediate humanitarian aid. The ISIS attacks constitute serious war crimes and even possibly genocide as defined by the Genocide Convention.

What the world is witnessing in the wake of ISIS ravages is no less than a threat against humanity and the EUTCC call upon the UN, USA and EU to act immediately – not by empty words but by their concrete actions. We also call upon Turkey to stop intervening and withdraw its support to ISIS.

Unless a stand is taken now, more and more innocents will be threatened and murdered.

 

Kariane Westrheim Michael Gunter
Chair of EUTCC Secretary general

 

Contact:

Kariane Westrheim, Kariane.westrheim@gmail.com, +47 976 42 088

 

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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Judge Essa Mossa speaks on Kurdish struggle for peace

Last week, Judge Essa Moosa, prominent South African human rights lawyer and chairperson of the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG) in Cape Town, was in London to speak at a seminar about possibilities for peace and reconciliation in Turkey, and his work with the  International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative. The IPRI was launched after a call from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu last year for Turkey to reopen talks with the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

While here, Mr Moosa was interviewed by Monocle 24’s news show Midori House about the part he played in dismantling Apartheid in South Africa and his work in support of the Kurdish movement, which includes the newly formed International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative. The interview is in two parts and is available to listen to online – just follow the links below.

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KHRAG publishes November newsletter

 

khrag logo-ht1
The South Africa-based Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG) has published its November newsletter, which is available to download (pdf). KHRAG’s chairperson, Judge Essa Mossa, will be speaking in Belfast next week as part of the Challenging the Oppression of Lawyers in Conflict conference at Queen’s University.

 

 

Download the newsletter here.

Michael Gunter book “out of Nowhere” to be released April 2014

EUTCC secretary general Michael M Gunter’s latest book, Out of Nowhere,  is due to be released in April 2014 from Hurst Publishers. More details below:

“In mid 2012 the previously almost forgotten Syrian Kurds suddenly emerged as a potential game-changer in the country’s civil war when in an attempt to consolidate its increasingly desperate position the Assad government abruptly withdrew its troops from the major Kurdish areas in Syria. The Kurds in Syria had suddenly won autonomy, a situation that has huge implications for neighboring Turkey and the near independent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. Indeed, their precipitous rise may prove a tipping-point that alters the boundaries imposed on the Middle East by the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

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“Why the US should not bomb Syria”, by Michael M. Gunter

New piece by EUTCC secretary general Michael M Gunter [updated on 3 September with revisions from earlier piece, To Bomb or Not to Bomb]:

WHY THE UNITED STATES SHOULD NOT BOMB SYRIA

On August 21, 2013 the Syrian regime apparently used chemical weapons against the opposition in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus, killing anywhere from 500-1,300 people, the numbers vary according to U.S. intelligence reports made public. While the Assad regime has long had a great deal of innocent blood on its hand and now may be guilty of using chemical weapons, this is not a sufficient reason for the United States and its Western allies to bomb Syria. Indeed, the United States has neither an intelligent entry or exit plan. In the first place, however, we are not yet even certain the Syrian regime actually used these weapons. U.S. intelligence on these matters has erred and lied to the world before.

For example, in 1998 the United States bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan claiming that Sudan had supplied al-Qaeda with chemical weapons that had been used in its attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Later we learned that the intelligence supposedly implicating Sudan was incorrect. Similarly in the run up to the war that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 and whose murders and repercussions are still being felt a decade later, the United States falsely claimed that it had incontrovertible intelligence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, which justified attacking. It turned out that U.S. intelligence was wrong again or simply lied to justify going to war.

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Archbishop Tutu wins Templeton Prize

Peace in Kurdistan campaign was delighted to hear that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was recently awarded the Templeton Prize, which is offered yearly to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to our vision of human purpose and spirituality.

We wrote to Archbishop Tutu to congratulate him on the award, and to  express our appreciation for his outspoken commitment to the cause for Kurdish justice over the years, for example through his participation in the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), and his recent support for the International Peace Initiative, which was launched last December with a call from the Archbishop for peace talks to resume.

You can read the letter we wrote to him here. You can also view some videos by Archbishop Tutu on winning the Templeton prize.

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