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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EUTCC statement on the withdrawal of troops from Turkey

Press release: for immediate release

26 April 2013

PKK’S HISTORICAL MOVE FOR PEACE

It is with great appreciation that the EUTCC received the message from Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council President Murat Karayilan that the PKK withdraws its forces gradually from Turkey starting 8 May, 2013. The withdrawal is a result of the ongoing peace talks between the PKK’s leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan and the Turkish government and emerged following letter exchanges between the mountain and the leader. The withdrawal is the first phase in a process that hopefully leads to lasting peace.

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EUTCC calls for the release of Yilmaz Orkan

27 March, 2013

Press release: for immediate release

The deputy head of the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe (KON-KURD) and a member of KNK, Mr. Yilmaz Orkan, were arrested yesterday morning at the Zaventem airport in Brussels by Belgian police on behalf of their Spanish colleagues.

Yilmaz Orkan was on his way to Tunisia and the World Social Forum (WSF) which provides a platform that enables encounters between women and the men who struggle to build democracy, equality for all, solidarity, justice and peace, to protect the environment and commons. Orkan’s work, his diplomatic efforts and lobbying for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question are well known to the European Parliament, the European Council and the international community. It seems that despite the ongoing political peace talks between Mr. Abdullah Öcalan and the Turkish government, dark political forces swipe Europe. Orkan’s arrest is just another attempt to curry favor to the campaign against the PKK and its so-called “terrorism” in Europe. The arrest of Yilmaz Orkan follows the case of the imprisoned Kurdish diplomat Adem Uzun who was detained in Paris October 2012. Continue reading

EUTCC salutes the Kurdish people on Newroz 2013

22 March, 2013

Newroz 2013: Solidarity Greetings

Newroz is the traditional Kurdish festival of light and hope. It is a celebration of the coming spring unfolding after the long winter and symbolises the victory over dark oppressive forces. This year’s celebration epitomises the historical narrative of Newroz more than ever. The ongoing talks between the Turkish government and Mr. Abdullah Öcalan signal a new beginning and a brighter future for the Kurdish people and for Turkey. It became clear from Mr. Öcalan’s letter, which was read aloud at the Newroz celebration in Diyarbakir by BDP deputies Pervin Buldan and Sirri Süreyya Önder. The letter indicates that the hope and call for peace by millions of Kurdish voices are finally heard and acted upon.

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New international campaign for Adem Uzun launched

Peace in Kurdistan campaign, along with Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), is pleased to support this new international campaign launched by the EUTCC calling for the release of Adem Uzun:

EUTCC – TURKEY CIVIC COMMISSION

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN

FREE ADEM UZUN
THE LIBERATION OF A GENUINE KURDISH DIPLOMAT : ADEM UZUN

Editorial

The international community while waiting for creative dynamics in context with the complicated Turkish-Kurdish dialogue at the same time Mr. Adem Uzun as one of the ARCHITECTS
OF KURDISH DIPLOMACY is arrested in Paris.

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EUTCC: In memory of our friends

Issued: 10 January, 2013

For immediate release

IN MEMORY OF OUR FRIENDS:

SAKINE CANZIZ, FIDAN DOGAN, AND LEYLA SÖYLEMEZ

It was with shock and grief we received the horrible news about the deaths of our dear friends who were massacred in Paris today in the most grotesque way. Sakine Canziz, the co-founder of the PKK in 1978 holds a crucial role in the party. Fidan Dogan (Rojbin), a Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) member from Paris, has also been working closely alongside the EUTCC for many years and her work has been very important to our international work for the Kurds.

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GUE/NGL Group of the European Parliament condemns the assassination of three Kurdish activists in Paris

(FR/EN)

Le Groupe GUE/NGL du Parlement  Européen condamne  l’assassinat de trois activistes kurdes à Paris

GUE/NGL Group of the European Parliament condemns the  assassination of three Kurdish activists in Paris

(English text  follows below)

Brussels, 10/01/2013

“Je n’ai pas de mot pour  exprimer l’horreur et la tristesse que je ressens face à ce crime. Rojbin  Fidan Dogan a été la première personne à m’avoir parlé de la question kurde.  Elle était la joie de vivre personnifiée. Je n’oublierai jamais son sourire.  Toute ma solidarité et ma compassion va aux familles des victimes”, affirme Marie-Christine VERGIAT, députée européenne française  du GUE/NGL (Front de Gauche).”Les Kurdes Continue reading

EUTCC acknowledge Turkey for resuming talks with PKK

The following press statement has been issued by the EU Turkey Civic Commission:

5 January, 2013

The EUTCC positively notes the encouraging developments between the Turkish state and the PKK leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. The renewal of talks between the parties and a genuine will from both sides to seek a peaceful solution to the problems can pave the road to peace and a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey along the lines first adumbrated by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the recent International Peace Initiative. The renewal of these long-awaited talks will benefit all parties involved including Turkey and are to be encouraged. In light of these positive developments we urge the French government to immediately release Mr. Adem Uzun a leading Kurdish representative who was involved in the previous Oslo process. The further imprisonment of Mr. Uzun is meaningless in light of the positive developments currently taking place on Imrali.
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Papers from the 9th International EUTCC Conference

Several conference papers from last week’s EUTCC Conference, entitled The Kurdish Question in Turkey: Time to Renew the Dialogue and Resume Direct Negotiations, have been made available in English. The final resolution of the conference is also available, and you can download the opening speech by Kurdish MP Leyla Zana(pdf) and Dutch academic Joost Jongeden’s paper, Rethinking Politics and Democracy in the Middle East(pdf).

Dr Sabine Freizer, Europe Program Director for the International Crisis Group

“Negotiating peace: Requirements for a political resolution and the Road Maps to Peace in Turkey”

INTRODUCTION

Thank you very much chair for inviting me to speak to you today and to present the recommendations that the International Crisis Group has developed to alleviate the Kurdish problem and help the Kurdish movement and the Turkish government reach a political settlement.

Just a few words on Crisis Group. We were created in 1995 during the wars in the Western Balkans when several international policy makers felt that an organization that could give practical recommendations, based on field research, to alleviate and solve deadly conflict was needed. The head of our organization is Justice Louise Arbour, former UN High Commission on HR and Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. We work in about 65 conflicts around the work with some 150 staff. Our main advantage over other organizations is our field presence with about 30 offices around the world. Personally I cover the Europe program (the Balkans, Turkey and the Caucasus, North and South) and am based out of Istanbul, where I work with two other colleagues, Hugh Pope and Didem Akyel. Our only product is our reports – we don’t do any of our own activities, like organizing conferences or providing aid.

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EUTCC resolution calls for restart of direct negotiations

The EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) held its 9th International Conference last week In Brussels, with politicians, academics, NGO workers and political activists from Kurdistan, Europe and across the world gathering for two days of discussion. The final resolution, which is reproduced below in full, reflected the main focus of the conference this year by calling for direct negotiations to resume between the Turkish government and the PKK. This echoes the call made made Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Despond Tutu at the recent launch of the International Peace Initiative (IPI). A special resolution was also passed calling for the release of Kurdish politician Adem Uzun from French custody, which is also below.

Prominent MP and Rafto Prize Laureate Ms Leyla Zana opened the conference, and a copy of her speech in English is opening speech (pdf). Also available is Dutch academic Joost Jongerden’s conference paper entitled Rethinking Politics and Democracy in the Middle East (pdf).

FINAL RESOLUTION OF THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL EUTCC CONFERENCE, BRUSSELSTHE KURDISH QUESTION IN TURKEY: TIME TO RENEW THE DIALOGUE AND RESUME DIRECT NEGOTIATIONS

The 9th Annual EUTCC International Conference met on 5-6 December 2012 at the European Parliament in Brussels. All of the presentations elaborated on the findings of the European Commission’s most recent (2012) Progress Report on Turkey’s EU accession process that unfortunately: “The Kurdish issue and . . . the 2009 democratic opening aimed at addressing amongst others the Kurdish issue were not followed through. . . .  Overall, there was no progress towards a solution as regards the Kurdish issue.” Continue reading